The Reinvention of Chris Bosh

The coach walked in. His star big man was drawing robots in front of hundreds of students.

"He was like, 'What the hell?'" Bosh says. "He ragged on me so much."

To this day, Bosh still finds time for his intellectual interests amid his basketball schedule. Before home games, while his teammates blast hip-hop in their headphones, Bosh can be found sprawled out on the couch in the players' lounge reading a book -- he had just finished Michio Kaku's "The Future of the Mind," a national bestseller about nanotechnology -- in silence.

"It's part of my normal life, part of my routine," Bosh says. "I don't need to get psyched. The game is the game. I want to get away."

When people find out he's an avid reader and ask which book he's reading, he likes to tell them he just finished "The Cat In The Hat." He takes the glossy cover off of each book he reads.

"I don't like people to know what I'm reading," Bosh says.

THE NUMBERS TELL THE STORY

For years, Bosh cared deeply about two numbers: 20 and 10.

Twenty points and 10 rebounds -- the barometer for being an elite big man.

"20 and 10, 20 and 10," Bosh says. "People make a big deal about it and nothing happens. They talk about all the 20-and-10 guys, and I say this with all due respect, but when it's time to play for a championship, they'll forget about you."

Now Bosh cares about two different numbers.

"Efficiency and plus-minus," he says. "Everything else, I don't care."

It shows in the data. Bosh posted a career best in shot efficiency this season, registering a 55.5 percent effective field goal percentage, which incorporates the extra value of the 3-pointer. His true shooting percentage, which adds free throws into the mix, was also a career high this season, topping his previous best in Toronto in 2009-10. He has never been more efficient.

And his plus-minus? Consider this: The Heat outscored opponents by 9.8 points every 100 possessions when Bosh was on the floor. When he hit the bench, the scoreboard went the other way; the Heat were outscored by 0.4 points. That 10.2-point net differential was the largest of any Heat regular, according to NBA.com data.

After separating the two sides of himself for so long, he's begun applying that same thirst for knowledge he displays in his nonathletic interests to advance his game past what conventional wisdom often dictates.

"I just know how to play basketball on a higher level now," he says.

Bosh had built an All-Star career as a fairly traditional post player with the Toronto Raptors. Now in his fourth season with the Heat, and 11th overall, Bosh has found a new habitat beyond the 19-by-12-foot painted area. The NBA is now placing a premium on 3-pointers in this age of analytical insight, and Bosh has made more 3s this season than in his seven seasons in Toronto combined.

His 3-point shot has even become one of the Heat's top late-game weapons. Bosh did not make a 3-pointer the entire 2013 NBA Finals, but his dagger from the corner with 1:17 left in Game 2 of this year's championship series hushed the San Antonio crowd and sealed a series-tying victory.

"I've always said from day one, CB is our most important player," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says. "And that's not because I'm trying to build him up. The average fan doesn't appreciate what he does for us. But we do. He's sacrificed and changed his identity from when he first got here. He's a completely different player and we're better for it."

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