Chris Bosh Continues His NBA Travels as Coach at Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp in Senegal
Chris Bosh hasn’t had to deal with the rigors of the NBA’s hectic travel schedule since he last suited up for the Miami Heat in February 2016. But that doesn’t mean the 11-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion has been sitting still.
Cruise through his Instagram and you’ll see him and his wife, Adrienne, perusing Paris and Avignon, cheering on Serena Williams at Wimbledon and Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix, and checking out Cornwall on England’s southwestern tip.
And that’s within the last month alone.
“We just like to travel, man,” Chris says. “I love to travel, I love to eat food, and doing all that stuff is close to my heart.”
But even going on week-long vacations has its drawbacks.
For one, they wouldn’t have quite the same freedom to roam if Chris were still able to play in the NBA. At 35, he still looks like he could hoop—and with his size (6’11”), skill and long-range shooting ability, he’d be a better fit in the league now than he was when he helped LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat reach four straight NBA Finals.
But blood clots ultimately ended his professional career before he could complete his 13th season, though not before he established a strong case for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Now, nearly six months into his official retirement, Chris’ main concern with this round of globetrotting is the time he’s spent apart from his five children, who have joined their parents on the road in the past.
“It's tough being away from the kids. I'm ready to see my kids,” he says. “But it's been a great experience. It's been fun.”
It helps, too, that Chris’ travels have included opportunities to give back to and educate kids who are less fortunate than his. Most recently, the Dallas native made his first visit to Senegal for the 17th Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa camp.
For three days split between the NBA Academy Africa in Saly and Dakar Arena in Senegal’s capital, Chris joined Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid, Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, Indiana Pacers free-agent signee and former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, and Senegalese big men Gorgui Dieng and Tacko Fall, among others, to help coach 60 of the top boys and girls basketball players age 17 and under from 29 different countries across the continent.
This marked the latest of Chris’ trips across the Atlantic to support BWB Africa, including ones to Ghana and South Africa in 2014.
“That's what I love about the game of basketball—just trying to teach what I know and not be selfish with all that stuff,” he says. “There are secrets in the game and it's simple things. It's just things that you can do, very small things to help these kids and it will tremendously improve their game.”
Though these teenagers represented the best of the best among Africa’s young hoopers, the experience offered at BWB came as a quantum leap for many of them—and not just because of the legends on-hand to pass their knowledge on to the next generation. The facilities, too, often dwarfed the ones they’d come to know in their hometowns, to the extent that even competing in professional-caliber confines often required an adjustment.
“The first day, you could tell they were nervous and maybe not even sure of themselves,” Chris says. “They tell us, this is their first time playing on a wood court. So there's some things they have to get used to.”
Once they adapted, though, the campers were off and running. Between their own initiative and the top-flight coaching to guide them, the attendees managed to make meaningful improvements in their respective games in a matter of days.
“They want to get better, they want to work on their game, they listen to you, and you can just see the potential,” Chris says. “They have that light in their eyes to where they just want to play more, they want to do more, they know the opportunity that they have right now, and they've done a phenomenal job of just taking advantage of it.”
That drive to succeed athletically among the kids was of a piece with what Chris saw from the broader populace in Senegal. Where in America, “somebody might just be eating a cheeseburger sitting right next to the exercise machine,” he says, in Senegal, fitness is seemingly ingrained in the local and national culture.
“Seeing the kids and being around the city, they like to exercise in Dakar,” he says.
Chris’ squad ultimately came up short in the camp’s championship game, but in so many ways, the trip was a success. He and his fellow coaches got to enjoy the food and culture of Senegal in their spare time, all while helping the NBA promote the game abroad. The festivities included the unveiling of newly renovated courts in the suburbs of Dakar and the announcement of the initial host cities for next year’s Basketball Africa League, which is organized by the NBA and FIBA.
With that leg of this year’s “mini world tour” over, Chris returned home for some quality time with his family. Soon enough, he will turn his attention to his next trip across the globe, with Adrienne invariably picking most of their eventual destinations.
“Well, my wife, she's the traveling expert, you know what I mean?” he says. “She always finds these places.”
At some point, though, Chris’ enduring connection to the NBA and the game of basketball will likely dictate where and when the Boshes get their passports stamped once again.
On-site reporting done by the NBA for CloseUp360.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.