‘When Basketball Players Retire’ would be a wonderful show that I would binge-watch every moment of, but IRL it’s not often the most exciting thing to follow. And you know what? Fair. These dudes have been have been on display, some with a greater degree of prominence than others, for an average of ten years. By the time they are calling it quits they likely want to kick back with their families, maybe get some new hobbies, or perhaps revisit an old one.
As far as Raptors-affiliated retirees, the pool is still a small one. Smaller still when you want to try and actually track the post-career activates of our alumni. There’s the correspondent route, a road Morris Peterson, Antonio Davis and Jalen Rose (shout out) took. Then there’s my personal favourite way to foray into your glory days: get extremely weird.
Nothing dangerous or damaging, only, if anything, distilling yourself down into a more intensified version of you. At one end of this spectrum is former Raptors power forward and center, Acie Earl, who made a sci-fi movie called Moon Zero Three that features terrorizing tentacle creatures and a Midwestern looking car salesman wandering around a spaceship, plus a few cameos by Acie. You can watch all three parts online.
At another, less outer space oriented end of the spectrum is Chris Bosh. Bosh left Toronto for a very successful run in Miami, which you may still feel some type of way about though that would be silly since it’s inherently paternalistic to think professional athletes owe you anything over their own career aspirations and well-being. Bosh also faced a forced, fairly devastating early retirement with the discovery of blood clots travelling into his lungs, making the prospect of continued play life threatening. There was no real choice, but it was still a wrenching decision, and clearly one Bosh took some time to contend with by retreating from the public eye for a while.
But Bosh is back, and he’s coding.
In short video released by LeBron James’ UNINTERRUPTED, Chris Bosh makes a visit to a middle school in Los Angeles, in tandem with Code.org for Computer Science Education Week. “Coding wasn’t a term that anybody knew and it was something that I had to just do at home.” Bosh tells the kids, “When I was a kid, I got into this club, it was called Wiz Kids. I loved to draw, I loved computers, then I went to basketball right after. So those were my three things that got me going.”
If visions of a young Chris Bosh belonging to something called Wiz Kids isn’t enough to crack your cold, cold heart, he goes on to stress the importance of coding and fluency with technology to kids who scream in response to his every move. “Everytime you ‘like’ something from one of your friends, that’s a piece of code somebody had to write.” He lectures. They’re all a little like, “duh”, but happy to oblige. “If you learn the code, you learn the future.”
The beauty of guys you follow so intently for years, stressing over a minutia of their weirdest, most specific stats, retired and walking around in the real world suddenly talking about their love of a sort of nerdy, regular thing is a nice reminder that while ball is life, it is also finite. That will be a tougher phrase to catch on but I have faith. It’s also a nice reminder that the NBA, even via its retirees, continues to be the most stand-up and inherently decent pro-sport.
Anyway, for a bit of a breather from the pre-holiday slump, check out the clip below: