Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh). Chris fell in love with basketball at an early age and earned the prestigious “Mr. Basketball” title while still in high school (Lincoln High School) in Dallas, Texas. A McDonald’s All-American, he was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors after one year attending Georgia Tech. By the end of his basketball career, he was an 11-time NBA All-Star, two-time champion, and the NBA’s first Global Ambassador of Basketball. In March of 2019, Chris’s #1 Jersey was officially retired for the Miami Heat. In addition to his basketball career, he founded the community-uplift organization Team Tomorrow in 2010 and regularly speaks to youth about the benefits of reading, coding, and leadership. Chris, his wife Adrienne, and their five children reside in Austin, Texas.
His new book is Letters to a Young Athlete, which includes a foreword by Pat Riley.
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
DUE TO SOME HEADACHES IN THE PAST, PLEASE NOTE LEGAL CONDITIONS:
Tim Ferriss owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.
WHAT YOU’RE WELCOME TO DO: You are welcome to share the below transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles (e.g., The New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian), on your personal website, in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include attribution to “The Tim Ferriss Show” and link back to the tim.blog/podcast URL. For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.
WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED: No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Tim Ferriss’ name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Tim Ferriss from the media room on tim.blog or (obviously) license photos of Tim Ferriss from Getty Images, etc.
Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs. This is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show. I’m nervous. I’ll explain why I’m nervous in a minute. My guest, he’s a very friendly fellow. He’s not trying to make me nervous. His name’s Chris Bosh, on Twitter @ChrisBosh. He fell in love with basketball at an early age, and earned the prestigious Mr. Basketball title while still in high school. That was at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas, not far from where we are sitting in Austin, Texas.
A McDonald’s All-American, Bosh was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors after one year of attending Georgia Tech. By the end of his basketball career, he wasn’t 11-time, that’s more fingers than you have, folks, 11-time NBA All-Star, two time champion, and the NBA’s first Global Ambassador of basketball. In March of 2019, Bosh’s number one jersey was officially retired for the Miami Heat. In addition to his basketball career, Bosh founded the community-uplift organization, Team Tomorrow, in 2010, and regularly speaks to youth about the benefits of reading, coding, and leadership.
Bosh, his wife, Adrienne, and their five children reside here in Austin, Texas. His new book is Letters to a Young Athlete, which includes a foreword by Pat Riley. Chris Bosh can be found in many places online: Twitter, as mentioned, @ChrisBosh, Instagram, @ChrisBosh, and Facebook Official Chris Bosh. Chris, CB, welcome to the show.
Chris Bosh: Appreciate it, man. I’m excited to be here.
Tim Ferriss: I was looking at the copious notes in front of me. I was joking that I feel like the main character in Memento. I don’t like to show how the sausage is made, but this is the first in-person interview since COVID for me, really, certainly, indoors. And I’m looking at this bio and I’m looking and I’m looking and I’m looking, did you ever go to the Olympics?
Chris Bosh: I went to the Olympics, yes.
Tim Ferriss: I thought so.
Tim Ferriss: I may not be the best researcher, but I thought that. And how did things go with the Olympics?
Chris Bosh: Amazing.
Tim Ferriss: What was the outcome?
Chris Bosh: The Olympics were one of those things. I had the time of my life there, and when I mean time of my life, at that age, I was right where I was supposed to be. Back in ’92, when they constructed the Dream Team together, I was just a little kid in Hutchins, Texas watching TV. And I just thought it was cool that they had basketball in the summertime on regular TV. Because you couldn’t really watch TV, you had to have cable, to take in as many games as possible. And I was just one of those kids, anything basketball, I’m taking it in. And I remember just that time of the Dream Team watching them. It was just incredible. Wait a minute, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson and all these guys on the same team, that doesn’t — yeah, I was trying to comprehend it.
Tim Ferriss: The X-Men.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. You know what I mean?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: And that pretty much sparked the obsession. And so every Olympics, I mean, I would watch the Olympics. I mean, we watched gymnastics, we’d watch track and field, we’d watch anything to do with the Olympics. And getting to take part in Beijing, it was quite amazing. And just to be there, taking part in the opening ceremony, but most importantly, getting to have the experience of playing basketball for my country and being able to represent the USA and win a gold medal. I mean, that was everything
Tim Ferriss: You know that you have a good bio, just for those who didn’t pick up on this, when you can omit the Olympic gold medal from your bio. Just as a side note, that doesn’t happen all too often.
The reason I brought up the Olympics is because I had heard, I think, it was, it might’ve been LeBron James who mentioned this, but that while other people were killing time or doing A, B, and C, playing cards, you were trying to teach yourself Spanish. And this is the type of anecdote that came up over and over again, whether related to craft beer collection, and making craft beer, there were these parallel tracks. And I found that very interesting because sometimes it’s the side notes that tell a lot of the main story, even though basketball is the most obvious. Is that a myth? Is that true? Spanish, did that enter the picture?
Chris Bosh: It’s probably true. I’m surprised that they would remember something like that. To me that’s — that was when you had to like have the whole eight-CD set.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah.
Chris Bosh: You had to lug the bag around.
Tim Ferriss: You had a separate bag for it.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. You got to have a whole separate carry on. I could see that, and I forgot all about that actually. But yeah, I mean, language was always something that was just nagging at me, and I just had to do. And golly, back in ’08, that would mean I had just started, and I was trying to put two and two together, and I thought it was so cool that Rosetta Stone had an eight-CD packet that you could take with you and download on your computer and all that stuff.
Tim Ferriss: That you could buy it an airport kiosk. Remember when that was a thing?
Chris Bosh: Absolutely. And I thought that was so cool, because I’m like, “Yo, I got that.” Yeah, I mean, I remember taking it with me. I always had a fascination with language and always trying to pick it up. And believe it or not, it actually — getting drafted by Toronto in the beginning years, for some reason I thought I could learn French. I’m like, “Oh, yeah. I’m going to learn French.”
Tim Ferriss: No problem.
Chris Bosh: No problem. And I got up there, everybody speaks English. And so it was like, you got to watch TV, and I was trying to watch TV, it just didn’t happen, and it didn’t make any sense. And so, probably, a few months after that I said, “Okay, I need to learn Spanish.” Because there’s more Spanish speakers in the world than there are French, so let’s start there. And, yeah, I started learning Spanish, and that was before I got a tutor. So I started with Rosetta Stone and that was okay. And then I hired a tutor, and then I ended up making the move to Miami, eventually, which it helped me out quite a bit, just in —
Tim Ferriss: Calle Ocho.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. Calle Ocho.
Tim Ferriss: Your shout out in Spanish.
Chris Bosh: I’m their son. And they really, really loved it, but just the culture that was down in Miami, it was really just a perfect fit. And I don’t know what it was, I just had to learn languages. It’s just one of those things that just calls me, communicating with people, talking with people, and really, it was always beneficial, because we would have teammates — I have had three teammates from Spain, two or three teammates from Spain. And you have guys coming from Europe and Africa and South America and stuff like that, so you want to be able to communicate efficiently with them. And just learning different languages and stuff like that has helped me quite a bit.
Tim Ferriss: You can cover a lot of the globe with Spanish.
Chris Bosh: Yeah, absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: You can go to a lot of places.
Chris Bosh: Absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: You can go to a lot of places.
Chris Bosh: And it’s a good beginning, right?
Tim Ferriss: Oh, it’s great.
Chris Bosh: That’s a good Latin base, because then you can be like, okay, Portuguese, Italian, and —
Tim Ferriss: You can hop around.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. You can hop around pretty, not easily, but it could happen.
Tim Ferriss: So I heard you say the words, Calle Ocho, in your, I don’t want to say, last speech, but when your jersey was put up into the rafters. So for people who don’t know, and don’t worry, folks, if you don’t know anything about basketball, that’s me too, because I have little squirrel hands. I’m very small. And during the winter is when basketball was an option, I actually did not get accepted to the JV basketball team, because as the coach put it, I dribbled like a caveman, so I ended up wrestling. That’s going to be my excuse for not knowing much about basketball.
Chris Bosh: “I was wrestling!”
Tim Ferriss: But we will come back to the very, very, very, very building blocks of basketball in a moment. But because this is also not explicitly mentioned in your bio, could you explain for people how you came to retire? Or how your basketball career came to an end? And then we’re going to fill in the in-between.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So year 13, and it was kind of like a, not a long, drawn-out process, but pretty much what happened is, it started with a pulmonary embolism. I ended up having a pulmonary embolism. I had chest pains, back pains, all kinds of different pains, had a collapsed left lung, partially, for a while, and I was still playing. I chalked it up to something else happened. It wasn’t definitely anything life-threatening. And it definitely wasn’t anything that would end my season, let alone my career. But I kept playing and we eventually, it got so bad, I went to the hospital, and I ended up having to get surgery. Let me see, I was in the hospital for close to two weeks. It was pretty much like solitary confinement. I didn’t really think about it until it was over, but I didn’t leave that room for a good two weeks.
I had two tubes in my chest, right here, on my ribs, on the side of my ribs, right below my chest. And I had to drag that around with me after surgery for a few days, until it got all the leakage out, and that took about a week. And then after that I was able to recover, was able to come back and play basketball. And then, that next year we found another clot. When you’re in a situation with blood clots and stuff like that, if you have a second blood clot, it’s almost like you’re radioactive, and so that pretty much was it. It was during All-Star weekend in Toronto. I was reshaping my game. I’m a three-point shooter now. I’m actually in a three-point competition. I’m looking forward to my career being revitalized, and still being on top of my game, still being an All-Star, still performing at a highly level.
We felt that we had a team good enough to compete for a championship that year. We were second or third in the east. We’re ready to go. We’re right there in the driver’s seat, and we unfortunately found another clot. It was a blood clot in my lower extremities. And that was pretty much the end of the season. I continued to try to come back, but it just didn’t happen. With doctors and things like that and teams and question marks, we found out that it’s not that much research; the research has been inconclusive about athletes, blood clots, and things like that.
We tried, and I did try, I gave it the old college try to try to come back, but it just proved to be too much. And I have a family, I have children, and I had to start thinking about that. It’s like the easy, tough decision to make. You know it’s right, but I just love basketball so much. And I just figured this was my time to really prove myself, for the umpteenth time, to be an elite player in the world. And it was just that second act, or third act rather, that didn’t happen.
Tim Ferriss: And was the cause, ultimately, whether definitively or just tentatively concluded to be a hereditary disease or was it unknown?
Chris Bosh: You do test. I did test to see if it was hereditary. It’s not. I don’t have the genetic markers that would mean I just have reoccurring clots. When they said that, I was like, “Okay. Well, great.” It just seemed to have come out of nowhere, especially in a sport where trauma is pretty — you’re getting leg trauma on a nightly basis.
But it’s just something that I had to move past, eventually. And as tough as it was, I had to move on with my life and eventually figure out how to move past it and do something else.
Tim Ferriss: We’ll likely come back to that at some point. And just psychologically, philosophically, how you’ve navigated that. But —
Chris Bosh: Yeah. Absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: — as promised, I want to jump back to Lincoln High School, and we are going to at some point — well, we, I’m using the royal we, I don’t mean to embarrass my audience by including you in the questions I might ask about basketball. They’re going to be very, very basic, but let me first ask, as we kind of segue into this, I just want to read part of this paragraph from Wikipedia, because I have something related to ask about it. All right. “So the 6 foot 11 teenager,” we didn’t mention that yet, 6 foot 11 teenager helped Lincoln High capture,” and this, again, Wikipedia, so feel free to fact check any of it, “Class 4-A state title as he delivered 23 points and 17 rebounds to go along with nine blocks.”
Now here’s the point that or the paragraph that really caught my attention, all right, “Bosh was subsequently named High School Player of the Year by Basketball America, Powerade Player of the Year in Texas, a first team All-American by Parade, McDonald’s, and EA sports, a second team All-American by USA Today and SLAM Magazine.” And it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. And my question is, what was it like for you, at that age, to get that amount of visibility? And that amount of, I suppose fame, I mean, this is — later, you’d be much, much better known, but at that age, I think back to all the terrible decisions that I made in high school, all the terrible decisions I continued to make for a long time, and it was not in any way fueled. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities afforded to someone with a tremendous visibility. What was that like as a student in high school? And was there a moment when you were like, “Oh, wow, okay. Okay. Things are going to be different.”
Chris Bosh: It like, continuously happened like that. The thing with me is, I was lucky to find the thing. That thing that you love. Once I found basketball, and that’s one of the things that I always encouraged, not only the youth, but people in general, find that thing that you love. And people can help you get there, but only you know, and only you know that feeling, whether it’s sewing, knitting, architecture, it could be anything. But for me, I found basketball pretty quickly. And in my mind, it was all supposed to happen.
One of the interesting questions I get is, when people ask me, “Well, what else would you be doing?” That’s kind of a hard question to answer, because I didn’t do anything else. So it was basketball, video games, and friends, and of course schoolwork, anything outside of that it really didn’t get too much in my atmosphere.
And so with that said, I was always able to go to practice or go to the gym, or even play basketball video games, or read the newspaper and see what the stats are, and who’s leading the Eastern Conference, or who’s leading the league in scoring, rebounding, and things of that nature. I never wanted to do anything else. Basketball was it. I grew up watching Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and of course, all the other stars too, but those two guys, in particular, they were always winning. As soon as I found out what basketball was, I knew who Magic Johnson was, and huge success in the ’80s, five championships. And then Michael Jordan is there. I watched him pretty much win six live, and then Kobe Bryant comes along and he was the dude that made it real, because he was a teenager doing things that Jordan did. So once that started happening, it became more obsessive. Are you familiar with SLAM Magazine?
Tim Ferriss: I am not, but I can imagine the subject matter, possibly.
Chris Bosh: So, SLAM Magazine was pretty much like the basketball magazine, and so that was like the internet. You know?
Tim Ferriss: Right.
Chris Bosh: So you go get your SLAM Magazine. And I started putting these posters on my wall of Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, all these guys, and just obsessively following the game. But they would also put in these articles with the high school talent. It was all basketball, high school, college, and pros. And so for me, with all the content I consumed, whether it was movies, whether it was watching SLAM Magazine, these things were supposed to happen. So when they started happening, for me, it was more like, “Okay, cool.” I was still in my bubble.
Tim Ferriss: Did you feel in a way, because of this extreme focus on basketball, that you had identified it as the path, your path?
Chris Bosh: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: That these things were sort of, I don’t want to say ordained to happen, but you were like, “If I am, in fact, destined to be on this path, these are the following markers along that path.”
Chris Bosh: That’s exactly what it was.
Tim Ferriss: And therefore, when you show up yourself in SLAM Magazine, you were like —
Chris Bosh: “Somebody’s in SLAM. Okay.”
Tim Ferriss: “As it was written!”
Chris Bosh: Full disclosure, I didn’t like the SLAM article that they made of me. It was like, I finally got my half page, and I’m like, “That’s the photo they chose?”
But, yeah, it was kind of those markers, getting those markers pretty much from the ninth grade on. So there was no reason to — and one of the things that was always interesting, nobody — fun fact, in our yearbook, because we had other good players as well, I wasn’t chosen most likely to be in the NBA. So I was never like, “Yeah, Chris — ” Just like you were reading off, you saying, “USA’s second team,” that still —
Tim Ferriss: Wince a little bit!
Chris Bosh: They messed that one up. It’s okay, USA Today. Excuse me. But with that said, that was just always my mentality. I was not written off, but in my mind it was always, how it was supposed to happen, and I started growing. And then, I guess, once that notoriety came, for me, it was like, “Okay, yeah, about time.” But once I started getting that notoriety, I wanted to get in the gym more, because it was working. So from ninth grade pretty much on, every time I saw success or if I was in the paper or if the coach told me “Good job” or something like that, I wanted more. It was always an emphasis on doing more work, doing more work, and getting in there.
Tim Ferriss: You were like, “The recipe works, let’s —
Chris Bosh: Man —
Tim Ferriss: — crank out some more pizza pies with that recipe.”
Chris Bosh: — you know what I mean? It’s going pretty good, let’s make something out of this. And one of the interesting things and, probably, one of the things that lit a fire under me was my dad. We weren’t the poorest kids. I would describe my upbringing as lower middle class, but he sat me down or we would drive all the time and ride everywhere, and he told me one day, I was like 12, he said, “Hey, man, I can’t pay for college. So basketball, you love basketball, that’s awesome. You can get a scholarship playing basketball. And that’s great, because I can’t pay for college.” He kept saying, “I can’t pay for college.” And I thought that was fascinating that, wow, you could go to college and play basketball. Okay. And I started — that began an obsession with schools and mascots and learning the colors on top of all the stats and stuff. So once I really started getting into it, I mean, it just grew and grew and grew, and as it grew, so did the notoriety.
Tim Ferriss: So let’s talk about making those pizza pies. The recipe that was working, I want to try to tease apart some pieces of that. So you mentioned a name, Kevin Garnett, if I’m pronouncing that correctly.
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tim Ferriss: Were there any players you watched and decided to emulate? I had read that KG was one such player, I don’t know if that’s true. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet —
Chris Bosh: Of course.
Tim Ferriss: — so you can confirm or deny. But were there players who you watched early on in your development as a player or as a player, who you decided to emulate for one reason or another?
Chris Bosh: Oh, yeah. Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.
Tim Ferriss: All right.
Chris Bosh: More so KG, but Tim Duncan, of course, too, because he was right down the street, and his nickname was The Big Fundamentals, and every coach loved the way he played the game. And I would play the power forward, which is kind of a dying position now, but it was called the four, and it was cool to be a four. Oh, man, early 2000s, late ’90s to be a four man, it was awesome. And so it was just kind of looking for guys that look like me, and —
Tim Ferriss: Looked like you in terms of like physical dimensions?
Chris Bosh: Physical stature or lack thereof, but it’s kind of — growing up playing the game, when you’re skinny, when your mass hasn’t caught up with your bones, people kind of be like, “Ah,” you hear all the skinny jokes and “You need to eat something,” and “Lift some weights.” And like, “I am lifting weights.” But it was always this preconceived notion or this stigma that you had to have size to play down low. And once I saw KG play —
Tim Ferriss: When you say down low, what do you mean?
Chris Bosh: Closer to the rim.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, I see.
Chris Bosh: Closer to the rim. Now the game is more spread, it’s more around the three-point line. The game back then was more people in the paint. So that’s how the game was played, closer to the basket, a lot more physicality, a lot of banging around, and I’m sure a lot of people were worried for me. But once I saw Kevin, there was one highlight, in particular, long and skinny. He was a All-Star when he was 19, 20 years old, he came straight out of high school in ’96 — no, ’95 — and he was long and skinny like me. And one of the things kind of, you were joking and saying how your coach said you handled the ball like a caveman, he can handle the ball.
And so that was kind of like a new thing. Not new all the way, but old school coaches would tell me, “If you’re tall, don’t dribble.” That was a part of the game, “Don’t put the ball on the floor.” I saw him put the ball on the floor and rebound and block shots and play defense, and he had this intensity and tenacity to him the way he played the game, it was just infectious. And I was like, “Yo, I want to do that.” And so I would imagine going to the park and imagine these moves and imagine myself doing — I would visualize every day, man. And once I saw that, it was over. And I mean, he was cool too. He had to have the swag. The young guy swag back then. Had the look and, had the off-court look in the SLAM. And it was just amazing to me. And that’s all I wanted to do. I want it to be — that’s what I want to be. That right there.
Tim Ferriss: KG.
Chris Bosh: KG.
Tim Ferriss: Not only tall. Ball-handling skills.
Chris Bosh: And a lot of people don’t know this, a lot of people don’t know this, but that was actually my nickname. I haven’t told anybody, that was my — they called me KG in high school, in summer league, like, “KG.” That’s how bad I wanted to emulate his game and make it to the NBA, people were calling me KG.
Tim Ferriss: All right. So this is the intended segue into all sorts of terminology that I’m going to need your help with.
Chris Bosh: Oh, no problem.
Tim Ferriss: But let’s talk about Tim Duncan just for a second, because The Big Fundamentals.
Chris Bosh: The Big Fundamentals, man.
Tim Ferriss: That’s a cool name. Now, what did the coaches like about his playing style? You said they all loved his playing style. What were the ingredients that they loved about his playing style?
Chris Bosh: He had that stoic demeanor. He was never — just, he brought the intensity and he played hard, but it wasn’t anything extra.
Tim Ferriss: It wasn’t flashy.
Chris Bosh: The opposite of flashy. But like we were speaking of playing down low, closer to the basket, his moves that he used were very basic, but devastating. Sometimes when you’re dealing with younger players that are good at the game, the simplicity can get to them. So they want to show that they’re good by doing something fancy, and then usually you’re messing it up. But Tim, he made his career off of basic stuff, establishing position, getting your move, technique, playing within the system, and he was unstoppable. I mean, he was MVP of the league and perennial All-Star, and the best four man to ever play the game. You had to put him in that same context, if you’re trying to be successful.
Tim Ferriss: And by playing within the system, do you mean within a coach’s prescribed system?
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Like a set number of plays. Basketball is a fast-moving game and it can look like guys are just out there or girls are just out there just running around and not really doing much, but there is —
Tim Ferriss: A method to the madness.
Chris Bosh: — a method to the madness. You’re supposed to be in a certain position, even if it’s within the flow of a game. So, when I say system, that’s what I mean by that. If he was at the top, he knew exactly what to do. If he’s down low, he knew exactly what to do. And that added on top of the talent, yeah, they could have given it to him, and say, “Okay, bring us home, big fella.” And that would’ve worked. But he added so much longevity on his career by playing within the system, in my opinion. And I mean, that made him more dangerous, because you have to worry about all of these other things happening, if you’re defending him. There’s four other people out there that you have to worry about, but then he’s hitting you and your body, down low, getting the ball, and he was incredibly strong too.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. So this is fun for me as a basketball illiterate to begin to sort of piece this together in my own mind, because you have the Big Fundamentals, who’s playing within the system, not as a derogatory, not in a negative sense, but meaning he understands how to play with and synergize with the other elements on the team.
Chris Bosh: Absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: He is not doing anything fancy for fancy’s sake, right?
Chris Bosh: Right.
Tim Ferriss: So as we were talking about before we started recording, how Morgan Spurlock once told me, “Once you get fancy, fancy gets broken.”
Chris Bosh: That’s a good one. I’m going to — that’s a good one.
Tim Ferriss: And fancy can work, but you better have the fundamentals first. So he’s devastating within the system, which is a possibility. And then you have KG, Kevin Garnett, who is in some ways violating the expectations of him, not because it’s impossible to do so, just because there isn’t much historic precedent for somebody his size also having the dexterity to handle the ball really well.
Chris Bosh: Especially in the mid ’90s.
Tim Ferriss: Which later you would also receive that compliment quite a lot. And I want to go to power forward, and you said, four man, is that right?
Chris Bosh: Yeah. The four. The four.
Tim Ferriss: All right, the four. This is where I’m really going to embarrass myself. Here we go, so I’m going to make a confession. I was reading through the research. I was reading about your bio. I was watching videos. And I thought to myself, this might as well be in Greek. I can’t even begin to imagine what these terms mean, half of them. So I went to the people are going to love this. So I went to Wikipedia and I looked up basketball. I was like, let’s just start there. And just to be clear, I do watch basketball. I appreciate — I mean, I clearly don’t follow it very well. But I can appreciate the athleticism, I understand what a three-point shot is. I understand what a jump shot is, layup, slam dunk, et cetera. Some of these terms I actually do know.
But I realized that I did not know the positions whatsoever. And so I just want to read something and then we can dive in. This is from the Wikipedia entry on basketball, folks. Yes, feel free to laugh.
All right. First of all, I do know this, five players on each side, it turns out. All right, so the five players on each side fall into five playing positions. The tallest player is usually the center. The second tallest and strongest, the power forward. A slightly shorter but more agile player is the small forward. And the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implement the coach’s game plan by managing the execution of offense and defensive plays (player positioning).
Informally, players may play three on three, two on two, one on one. Then I’ll just add this because I was like, “What? Really?” Invented in 1891 by a Canadian-American gym teacher, James Naismith —
Chris Bosh: Naismith, yeah.
Tim Ferriss: — Naismith, in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States. Basketball has evolved to become one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports. So number one, 1891, not that long ago?
Chris Bosh: Not that long ago, yeah.
Tim Ferriss: That’s crazy.
Chris Bosh: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: That is insane.
Chris Bosh: Not that long ago, man.
Tim Ferriss: That’s like wheels on luggage, we were like, “Really? It took us that long?” Wow. Amazing.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. And it started with a peach basket. Did you get to that point?
Tim Ferriss: No.
Chris Bosh: So back in the day, when they made the game, they had to have something to do in the winter time in Massachusetts. So they put the peach basket up there. And when you make a basket, they had to get a ladder to climb up and take it out. It wasn’t until later that they cut a hole in the peach basket.
Tim Ferriss: The climbing up and getting it out, not as compelling for television.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. No, it’s not. It’s like, “Oh, good shot! Okay, let me go.”
Tim Ferriss: “Hold on, hold on. Give me a few minutes.”
Chris Bosh: The game will be two to three or something like that.
Tim Ferriss: So, I just want to run through this again and then get your commentary just as to how to think about the game. Now, I also understand the game is not static, right? And how the game is played changes.
Chris Bosh: Especially now.
Tim Ferriss: Especially now.
Chris Bosh: So we can take these rules, and then we’re about to break them.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. All right. Not to say you have to comment on what I just read, because obviously you’re much more qualified than the 37 people who put that together. But how should we think about the positions of basketball? If I were an alien, which might as well be the case, and I’m looking at this, and I understand what I said I understand. But all right, how are the jobs and responsibilities separated out here? How should we think about that?
Chris Bosh: Man, well, with those positions, with all those positions, with that said, it’s been totally open.
Tim Ferriss: And each of those positions is numbered, therefore, power forward —
Chris Bosh: Yeah. The one, the two, that’s like, when you get into it, like, “Oh, yeah, play the two.” That’s when you’re super cool. You know what I mean? Like “I’m at the five.”
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, the shorthand.
Chris Bosh: Yeah, “I’m at the five.”
Tim Ferriss: All right.
Chris Bosh: One, two, three, you have your positions. But with that said, with the way the game is now, that has been totally cracked open. So it’s been — What’s the word when the company comes in and it’s something totally different? God, what’s that word?
Tim Ferriss: It’s been restructured. No.
Chris Bosh: Not restructure, but we’ll get to it. I’ll remember the word.
Tim Ferriss: So the game has changed.
Chris Bosh: The game has changed. So you have one through five. The one is the point guard. The two is the shooting guard. Three, power forward. Four — I mean three, small forward. Four, power forward. And the five is the center.
What has happened in the last few years, is that it’s become more of a spread game. Because mathematically, people that do data eventually said, “Hey, let’s shoot more threes. Because these shots — we don’t like these shots, we like these shots. So let’s spread the floor.”
Tim Ferriss: Oh, that’s interesting. So is the reason — sorry to interrupt, but I’m going to do it a lot. So is the reason that the three-point shot has become more and more prominent, that was driven by the sabermetrics equivalent —
Chris Bosh: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: — it came from the data wonks, not from the players’ side?
Chris Bosh: No. I mean, there were some players. So in particular, me and Shane Battier, we would talk about — my good friend, Shane Battier, we played together in Miami during the championship years. And we would talk about this. We had just got him — he had played his career in Houston and Memphis.
In Houston, it’s a guy by the name of Daryl Morey, he’s the president for the Sixers in Philadelphia right now. Big stat guy. Loves stats. I mean, a number cruncher. And so they had a certain team, and it was a whole culture of stat-driven guys. Shane came from that. And so that’s where we would talk and we would talk about threes and contested twos, and just different shots that you can take.
Tim Ferriss: What’s a contested two?
Chris Bosh: So if you’re within the three-point line, right? Or a contested shot is if you’re shooting and I just put my hand up, trying to defend you —
Tim Ferriss: Got it, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chris Bosh: Right? Trying to deny you from actually putting two or three points up. And so it turns out —
Tim Ferriss: You’re pretty good at denying other people.
Chris Bosh: For sure. Use that link.
Tim Ferriss: I’ve seen these.
Chris Bosh: So, it kind of came to be that the worst shot in basketball is a contested two, 15 to 18, 19, 20 feet away from the —
Tim Ferriss: Got it. Just statistically, when they look at the —
Chris Bosh: Statistically, it’s terrible. And so people took that information and said, “Okay, hey, we need to play faster, we need more points. Big fella, you need to dribble.” So now it’s, you want everybody to have the ball.
Tim Ferriss: Interesting, so all of a sudden —
Chris Bosh: All of a sudden it opened up.
Tim Ferriss: — that thing that you were not supposed to do —
Chris Bosh: Everybody should do it.
Tim Ferriss: — became an asset.
Chris Bosh: You know? And it’s like, “Wow, you play the game.” Everybody should be able to do the basic fundamentals. But now it’s opened up to where now you have guys like Nikola Jokic, you probably never heard of him. He’s a big man that plays in Denver, one of the best players in the league. He’s a five man, but he handles the ball, you know —
Tim Ferriss: Which is a five man again?
Chris Bosh: The center.
Tim Ferriss: Okay.
Chris Bosh: So to confuse you more —
Tim Ferriss: Yes please.
Chris Bosh: — now you have a thing called the point center.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. Oh, boy.
Chris Bosh: Your big fellow can bring it down. But the evolution of the game — you’ve had guys like Magic Johnson, then LeBron James comes and he’s very tall, but he can handle the ball. Then you have Ben Simmons, Giannis Antetokounmpo, these guys who are very tall, seven feet, six eight to seven feet, who back in the day, you could say, “Okay, hey, you’re a four or a center or something else.” They’ve totally transformed the game because they’re the guys bringing it up the floor, and they’re getting the team into offense. So they’re doing the job of the point guard.
So now it’s more of a — the term positionless. When I was playing — it’s crazy to say the last decade — early in the 2010s, that became one of our words to say, positionless. Disruption, that’s the word I’m looking for. So basketball has been disrupted. What we thought was the game has been cracked open, and now it’s become a faster pace, longer shots, more athleticism, and not so much the cookie-cutter approach to where someone should be on the court because of their size or lack of size.
Tim Ferriss: You know, it makes me wonder about adaptability and the adaptability of not just some players. And I’m sure there’s also just a selection bias that changes with respect to who is drafted and how, and just the entire feeder system into the NBA. But also coaches, even more so coaches. If their entire career has been predicated on a system of a certain type, like, I mean, I’m not asking you to name names, but have you seen certain coaches who’ve been really able to adapt to this new style of play? Others who are like, “I don’t know, I don’t get it.”
Chris Bosh: Well, the ones who say, “I don’t know, I don’t get it,” they don’t have jobs, right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, and they get weeded out quickly. Yeah.
Chris Bosh: One of the guys — and I mean, of course, my ex-coach, Erik Spoelstra, I remember him. He was having the vision of having that positionless type of basketball, and that faster pace, which I didn’t like at the time, because that would mean I would have to play the center as opposed to the power forward, and I didn’t want to do that. But just taking advantage of the speed —
Tim Ferriss: Why didn’t you want to do that?
Chris Bosh: Because I was banging up against guys bigger than me. So usually in the NBA, my playing weight was about 235, 240. If I’m playing the five, I’m banging with guys that are 280, 270. And on a weekly, or nightly instance, man, it gets brutal. But it did work, as far as using the speed to get around the bigger defenders. So essentially playing — I guess, if you were a fighter going a class up in weight, because you’re quicker, you can hit them more.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, right.
Chris Bosh: That was pretty much the philosophy. One of the other guys who have done it, I think has done a great job, is Gregg Popovich. He’s in San Antonio. He’s done a wonderful job, because they run the same place. They just extend them.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, interesting. Okay could you expand on that? Because I remember watching The Last Dance, and watching this segment on the Spurs and sort of their, I don’t want to say playbook, but sort of systematic approach, and some of the debate around that. Right? Because there are other players that are like, “That’s not fun to watch.” Right? Like, “They should do A, B, and C instead.”
Chris Bosh: Yeah, because it beats you.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: It’s not fun to watch your team getting beat, you know?
Tim Ferriss: So can you expand on what you mean by that? So they have the same fundamental system, but they expanded it?
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So it’s kind of — the best analogy I could put to it is — I don’t want to expose their system, but everybody knows their system. It’s predicated. And I might be saying this wrong, but it’s two plays that are the base in their system, weak and strong. I can’t remember which side of the court, if they’re on this side of the court it’s weak, on another side of the court it’s strong. But that’s their base of the offense. Like I was saying earlier, the game a few years ago, was being played closer to the rim. There was nowhere to go. There’s no space. Even if you want to get your best player attacking into the paint, if there’s eight other people in there, it makes it a little more difficult.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, traffic jam.
Chris Bosh: Traffic jam. So you can take those same plays in basketball and just tell your players, “Hey,” — all these things from the Heat days are going to come into my head, like “pace” and “space.” I can’t believe I’m saying —
Tim Ferriss: I like it.
Chris Bosh: But that’s what — the space was very particular, because you wanted to be able to see what’s going on and to attack the rim, get closer to the rim for easy buckets. All you have to do is, “Hey, if you’re in the paint, I want you to get out there. We’re going to run the same place. But as opposed to being six feet away from the basket, get 16. I need you in this 12 to 16 area, feet right here.” Because usually, bigs, they wanted to keep them — we call them bigs, the fours and the fives, bigs. “We want to keep you as close to the basket as possible.” But that was clogging it up for the smaller guys to be able to attack. So you would tell — to be able to spread offense.
Tim Ferriss: And they want to keep their bigs close to the basket, not to state the obvious, but so that you can receive a pass, jump, done, or —
Chris Bosh: Be tall —
Tim Ferriss: — or rebound.
Chris Bosh: Right? Do your thing.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, the tall things.
Chris Bosh: Do all the things that tall people do. Well, if you spread the court, that makes it a little tougher to guard. It takes bodies away from the painted area. You know, that area where — the paint —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: — is what we call it.
Tim Ferriss: Harden the paint.
Chris Bosh: Harden the paint.
Tim Ferriss: If people have wondered what that term refers to, as my girlfriend told me, I was like, “What? Oh, my God, I never knew that.”
Chris Bosh: Going hard on the paint, man. So you can have the same type of offense, which is — nobody is reinventing the wheel here, but what’s happened, is the, the game has become faster and more spread, so that more offensive opportunities can happen.
Tim Ferriss: So you have preemptively developed ball-handling skills, which lo and behold, now are this huge asset as the game evolves, but you get put into center where you’re basically running into freight trains.
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tim Ferriss: Right? So I mean, not —
Chris Bosh: It was a part of my whole career. It happened in Toronto too.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I’m not saying a bad thing, but initially you were like —
Chris Bosh: “I don’t want to do it.”
Tim Ferriss: “I don’t want to do it.” Now, again, based on just the homework that I’ve done, I mean, you seem to be also very, very well known as a rebounder, right?
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tim Ferriss: And one of the questions that comes to mind for me, is if suddenly the bigs — is that the term?
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tim Ferriss: Are expanded out, further away from the basket, does that not make it harder for you to utilize one of your superpowers?
Chris Bosh: In a way, there are certain things that do get taken away. But in our case, it was a little easier to make that sacrifice, because we had Dwayne and Wade and LeBron. So if it’s saying, “Hey, Chris, we need you to get out the paint and spread the floor. Yeah, your offensive rebounding opportunities are going to sink quite a bit, but it’s better if we get those guys attacking. So you need to be out here.” And one of the things that that kind of developed was having a more sound defense. “Okay, instead of crashing the boards, just get back.”
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: Because the defense, especially if the defense gets the rebound, now they’re on offense. If they’re running, they’re a fast team, you want to mitigate their opportunities for easy baskets. And that can be a stat too, which I’m pretty sure we dug up. We did dig up that stat, what’s the percentage of you getting an offensive rebound versus not getting a stop because of that?
Tim Ferriss: So a question for you on the stats, and maybe this is getting too nerdy, but do all the teams have equal access to data, and it’s just a matter of analyzing it more effectively?
Chris Bosh: Yeah. Oh, we can go on NBA.com and get all the stats right now.
Tim Ferriss: Wow! So that’s hard. Everybody has — It’s an open book, right?
Chris Bosh: It’s an open — it wasn’t like that before. And the way you crunch those numbers is not an open book. So everybody gets the data, but that’s all it is, is just data. It’s just telling you what happened the last game or over the course of the game, it’s on the teams to kind of take that and utilize it, if they want to. Now, some people do overdo it, in my opinion. You can kind of get some people like, “It’s the way we want to play.”
Tim Ferriss: Got to tie your shoes with the left hand first.
Chris Bosh: But in my case there’s still some fundamentals to the game that you can’t really get around, you know?
Tim Ferriss: You mentioned Erik Spoelstra, if I’m getting the pronunciation right.
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tim Ferriss: Our mutual friend, Ryan Holiday, had given me a bullet, which was related to books that Erik had given you. What books did he give you that come to mind?
Chris Bosh: So he would give books every Christmas to the team. So there were —
Tim Ferriss: Quite a few.
Chris Bosh: — quite a few of them. And I read all of them. I was probably the only dude to read all of them. It was kind of funny, because one time we were cleaning out our lockers and somebody, I won’t name who, but somebody grabbed the book from their locker, “Oh, man, Spo, thanks for this Christmas gift.” It’s in June, we’re blowing dust off it. But when we first met, I had just signed to Miami, and I was always reading. I have always been an avid reader since I was a kid. And I just fell into reading books. I would always read books, especially on the road, before naps, before games, that was my thing. And he knew that about me. He had heard that about me, him being a good coach said, “Hey, I’m going to get him this book. I heard he’s a reader.” He got me Outliers by Gladwell. And I said, “Okay,” you know, he gave it to me and I took it. “Oh, that’s cool.” I read that book. And he just kind of looked at me like, “What?”
And then ever since then, he would, I hope that I pushed him to do more research in his book buying. But yeah, he would get us books every Christmas.
Tim Ferriss: Were there any that stood out to you?
Chris Bosh: One in particular was Grit, because he used that term all the time. The author’s slipping, my name —
Tim Ferriss: Angela Duckworth.
Chris Bosh: Angela Duckworth. And he got us that book, and he would always use these phrases, you know? And so grit was a huge, huge, huge word that he used, that I’m sure he still uses to this day. But that book in particular, he bought for the team and I read that one. I do remember that one.
And then it’s another one that’s slipping my mind. But I remember specifically we were having a conversation and it wasn’t an easy conversation. Usually when you’re a coach, you’re having tough conversations, 24-7 with your players, because everybody wants the ball. I was having one of those conversations like, “Hey, give me the ball,” you know? And it was one chapter in particular that was saying, “Push versus pull.” Some people you have to push, some people, you have to pull. Another chapter that said you have to have an open mindset or a closed mindset. You don’t want a closed mindset, you want an open mindset. The book will come to me in a minute, but I had to challenge him on having an open mindset, “Hey, give me the ball. Have an open mindset, Coach.”
Tim Ferriss: Remember that book you gave me?
Chris Bosh: And I always love that one, because it’s the book that he gave us. And I had to use it to kind of try to get my way.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, man.
Chris Bosh: But I always — I want to say it’s Good to Great, but that’s probably not the one. But Good to Great is one of them. But those books in particular. And I mean, like I say, throughout the whole time throughout the whole stint in Miami, he gifted us books, and I’m pretty sure he gifted us The Obstacle is the Way. I want to say he did. I’m pretty, pretty sure. But I just thought it was fascinating. Just a coach taking the time to think of his teammates and give them food for thought, something to think about. And I always enjoyed that, and I would read it, and I felt like I was getting inside his mind and in the minds of others, reading these passages and kind of taking and interpreting it for myself, right before the game. It was always great.
Tim Ferriss: Wow, so you would read right before playing?
Chris Bosh: Oh, yeah. I would — yeah, it was a funny, Pat Riley, he told me he’s like, “You’re like Kareem, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he would sit there and read the whole — ” and a couple of my young players when I was the old grizzled vet, they told me like, I would just sit there and you know, I’m oblivious to this stuff. I’m just getting my mind right, you know? I read, because this was my relaxing time, because it’s about to get hectic.
Tim Ferriss: Yes, you’re not reading like Black Hawk Down. You’re reading —
Chris Bosh: Maybe.
Tim Ferriss: Maybe. Okay.
Chris Bosh: I might. But if I’m reading Black Hawk Down, it’s the playoffs. You know, it’s winning time. But you know, I always try to give myself that peace of mind. I felt like it was my time. And granted, we’re in the locker room, it’s media everywhere. And people, it’s like the buzz of an NBA game about to start. And I was sit there and they told me, “Man, when you close that book, its like, all right, he’s ready, let’s go.”
Yeah, I would read and all the way up until Coach is about to start talking. I was like, “All right, cool, let’s —
Tim Ferriss: “Let’s go.”
Chris Bosh: — go ahead and do it.”
Tim Ferriss: Are there any books that you’ve re-read multiple times that come to mind? I mean, or was it always a new book that you would read?
Chris Bosh: I always read a new book, but the book that I read all the time, which — I know that you’re a connoisseur of Japanese culture, is The Way and The Power. Have you heard of that book?
Tim Ferriss: No.
Chris Bosh: So it’s a book called The Way and The Power. I had a buddy of mine who was a Kenpo black belt, many times over, he gifted me that book. And it pretty much was breaking down the way of the samurai. And it was two books into one, The Way and The Power. The Power is more so like strategies for a master, distancing, you know, confusion, how to handle conflict, things like that. The Way is moreso shaping the body and shaping the mind to become a samurai. So the exercises that one has to do to get to the point, to start mastery before you can even think about it. You know, you need to be here — one of the passages said you have to look successful. You want to be able to look good.
So I took all these principles and applied them to basketball. So what they meant by looking good with saying, “Hey, shirt tucked in, regulation, everything is good to go. My shoes are tied, I don’t have to worry about them because I have this knot that they won’t come loose.” So I’m not worried about my shoes while I’m playing. It also says exercise must be vigorous. People need to tell. So you have that strong spirit when you’re showing up before you even play. My muscle definition is good. I’m ready to play, because we’ve been working hard. We want people to feel that — it’s feeling the spirit before you even start playing the game, working on your key, things like that.
Tim Ferriss: Oh. The Way and The Power.
Chris Bosh: The Way and The Power. I think you’d enjoy it, you should check it out.
Tim Ferriss: Cool title, yeah.
Chris Bosh: And it’s got Japanese and you know —
Tim Ferriss: I’m going to do it.
Chris Bosh: — they don’t translate the words. So for instance, one of the principles is called Mushin and that really resonated with me quite a bit.
Tim Ferriss: It’s like “no mind.”
Chris Bosh: No mind. So you attack with no mind. I don’t think about everything, we’ve done all the studying. I filled myself with my opponent, and I’m attacking with no mind —
Tim Ferriss: That’s super cool.
Chris Bosh: — because I’ve done all the training.
Tim Ferriss: That is super cool. This is — that’s Mushin.
Chris Bosh: Yeah, so you read that and you’re like, “Oh, yeah.”
Tim Ferriss: That’s cool. Yeah. Mushin. No mind, or — this character, shin, which is also kokoro, is also used for heart. But it’s like spirit, heart, and mind all wrapped into one. It’s culturally super interesting.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. It was very fascinating. And I mean, yeah, they do not translate — because some of them have no translation, right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: So they have like, mushin, for instance, it’s called Mushin. Then they do English, but the title, the principle, is all Japanese.
Tim Ferriss: So you mentioned the knot. Having the right knots, you’re not worried about your shoes. I might be mis-attributing to this, I don’t think I am. But even though I know very little about most sports, I’m fascinated by consistent top performers. Because it’s like, once you’re lucky, twice, you’re good. Like for a decade? Okay. There is some method. And I recall reading this story about John Wooden, famed, I guess UCLA coach —
Chris Bosh: Mm-hmm (affirmative), he’s got a book too you should check out.
Tim Ferriss: And I recall reading a story, I’m sure many of the details are wrong. But when he would meet a bunch of new players, sit down and he’d walk them through tying their shoes. And they’d be like, “Why does this matter?” And he’d be like, “The little things matter, because if you mess this up, you’re going to get irritated. Then you’re going to get a blister, and then you’re not going to be able to move properly, and that’s going to cost you points, and that’s going to cost you the game.”
Chris Bosh: Yeah man.
Tim Ferriss: And, and I was like, “Oh, that’s so good. So good.”
Chris Bosh: Pyramid of Success.
Tim Ferriss: Pyramid of Success.
Chris Bosh: The Pyramid of Success by John Wooden, you can check that one out. And that pretty much describes that. So he had a pyramid of success and you know, that’s one of the myths or stories or whatever, you would — and I mean, he won — they pretty much owned the ’60s and ’70s. UCLA basketball, they built it to what it is, historically, today. And not only did he get the best players and great players, Abdul-Jabbar being one of them, he had the best teams. And coming in to play for a great coach like that, it’s like, “Okay, first day of practice, I can’t wait, where are we going to do?” And he’s showing them how to put on their socks and shoes practically and perfectly. And that was the first day of practice. So, you know, just —
Tim Ferriss: I’m just imagining the faces.
Chris Bosh: Could you imagine them? Like, “Oh, what offense are we going to run? This is going to be the — ” and you know, it’s — and if you read, there’s an actual pyramid that he built and constructed, and tying shoes and socks was at the very bottom of the pyramid of success. And he’d do this every year. Every year, that would be the first thing that they would go over. And then they would build on top of that.
Tim Ferriss: And you know, he was testing and tracking and keeping notes. It’s not accidental that that ended up at the bottom of the pyramid.
Chris Bosh: Of course. Of course, but that makes sense, right? If you get a blister, especially back in those days, everybody was playing in Chuck Taylors, that’s important, man. You’ve got to, “Hey, this is important stuff.” And like I was alluding to earlier, that’s the challenge with younger players, right? They want to go right to being the master, and doing the things that you think that a master is supposed to be doing, when we need to do this first, the basic, basic fundamentals. That way, when it’s winning time, we can be healthy. It’s kind of like — many sayings out there, but the bit and the horse and the shoe, if that nail isn’t right, then the horse — you know, it’s all these catastrophic events that could possibly follow if this one basic thing is not correct.
Tim Ferriss: You’ve spent a lot of time as a leader with other leaders, whether players, iconic players, coaches, a whole broad spectrum. Are there any particular lessons or stories related to leadership that stick out to you? The things you saw or absorbed from anyone in particular?
Chris Bosh: You know what? My high school coach, Leonard Bishop, he talked to me one time, and as much as I became more social later in life, this is me as 17 years old, six-11, all the accolades are possible and they can possibly come, he called me in his office and he told me, “You don’t have to be loud to be a leader. You can lead by example.” And you know, we always hear the thing lead by example, right? You will hear that all the time, but what does that even mean, right? And he told me, he explained it to me, he said, you know, “You can lead by putting your work in, being on time, being dressed and ready to go when it’s time to practice, staying after practice. Your teammates are watching you all the time. So if you do these things and lead by example, never giving up, never quitting, playing hard, these are the things that could be infectious. You don’t have to be the guy giving the ‘Win one for the Gipper’ speech. You can go out there and you can be yourself.” And that was so comforting to me. I remember that conversation we were having in his office and I said, “Wow, okay.” That gave me so much more confidence because I could be myself because on the court I’m going to yell and scream and do all that stuff all day. I wasn’t always the player to always talk during the game at that age. But if it’s getting hype and screaming and yelling, that was, basketball was always my release to do that. It was comforting to know I could be myself and still bring the leadership qualities to that team. And that always stuck with me.
Tim Ferriss: What are some of the things that people don’t know or don’t see that you think are important about some of the big names you’ve spent time around, whether that, you can take your pick, could be anybody. It could be a player, it could be a coach, could be an owner, it could be anyone at all, somebody not on that list, but — because people see you on TV, maybe they’ve followed you for a long time and maybe they think they know what makes you you, right? And they might have a few things right. But they probably have a whole lot of things wrong. And that would also, I assume, be true for many of these big names that you’ve spent time around. Are there any particular ingredients or special aspects of some of these folks that come to mind that you think are maybe less appreciated or less obvious to people?
Chris Bosh: I think — man, one, being human. Humanizing the people, that can kind of get lost in translation when you’re on TV. So remembering that there’s a human element, these are people with families and feelings and emotions. And on top of that, I think the work that is being put in, to anybody who’s elite at their craft or even professional at their craft, I mean, it’s a ridiculous amount of work that’s put in to even be in the league.
Tim Ferriss: Right. Let alone on the short list of people —
Chris Bosh: And even on the short list, man, they’re working hard. And I don’t know, the first thing that came to mind when you said that it was like, you ever — I was about to say “You ever watch a basketball game?”
Tim Ferriss: Well, I have watched basketball. I have.
Chris Bosh: You have watched basketball? So have you ever watched —
Tim Ferriss: I have watched, not saying I understood all the finer details, but —
Chris Bosh: So have you ever watched it when they say, “Okay, they’ve got two days off until their next game.”
Tim Ferriss: Yes.
Chris Bosh: That is not true.
Tim Ferriss: Right.
Chris Bosh: Not true. Practice, treatment, appearances, the professional aspect that it takes to be able to perform, because usually people just see you on TV and see you doing your thing. Okay, two days off. No, we did not have two days off. There are no such thing as weekends. If there’s a weekend, maybe we play at eight o’clock as opposed to 7:30, like usual, that was the only cursor for me that let me know it was the weekend. So, I think, just trying to remember — and it’s really for all people who are good at what they do, if you admire that person, remember that there’s a human element, that’s a human, they’re probably going through it or maybe not, or just whatever comes with life, they’re dealing with it.
And the tremendous amount of work and focus that it takes to be able to do that, to be able to say, “Hey, I need to put this to the side to be able to perform,” it’s happened many times in my career, you go to funerals, you have things you have to fight through and then you have to play, and you’re still expected to win. So just remembering those things, just remembering that when you’re watching your favorite player or your favorite author or your favorite engineer, whatever that is, the tremendous amount of work and dedication that it takes to get to that level. That’s what I would like people to really remember and understand.
Tim Ferriss: I have watched, maybe not enough basketball, but I have watched basketball. And in fact, at one point, not to say I ever got particularly good at it but when I was working on a book called The 4-Hour Chef, which is very confusingly, actually about accelerated learning, which might explain why there was so much confusion on the part of readers also, but there’s a section looking at free throws in basketball. And so I actually practiced quite a bit with the help of a few people, sort of technicians who were trying to help me understand basic principles. And part of the reason for that is that I have been just dazzled by, say, three-point shots, because as someone built like a small Flintstones character myself, right, I watch people who are jumping over the rim and performing these incredible feats of athleticism.
I’m like, well, I can’t even imagine myself doing that, the physics are just not there. My bones never caught up with my mass, is the problem. It’s the other way around. And plus my vertical jump is somewhere between half an inch and an inch at best.
So those are things I just can’t even imagine myself doing. And I think people might be, I’m not saying that this is everyone, but people might be inclined to say, “Well, he’s six foot, 11. It’s like, of course he can slam a basketball,” but it’s a lot harder to use that justification when it’s a three-point shot, right? “No, actually, like you, short guy. Yeah, Tim, that’s you, I’m talking to you. You should technically, you have the physical capability, of doing that,” right. I would just love to hear — and this might be getting too into the weeds, but how you improved your three-point shots. Because it’s not just repetition, in the sense, you can make the same mistake over and over and over again. And I’ve read about you doing video review, watching games six to eight times, and so on. So I know that you are methodical about reviewing your own performance, but how did you improve something like a three-point shot?
Chris Bosh: I didn’t start shooting threes consistently until about my third year in Miami, second and third year in Miami. I shot them in Toronto, a little bit, but like I said, it still wasn’t, we were talking about the game earlier, it wasn’t that widely accepted in the game, big men shooting threes, handful of them. Now, you have a handful that don’t.
We got to Miami and my position or my responsibilities changed. So I wasn’t getting the ball closer to the basket anymore. That was my job in Toronto, to get the ball as close to the basket as possible. That’s where we function. I was pretty good at it. And then the team would go from there and we would distribute and kind of base our game off of, I guess, my success or lack of success down low. I was telling you earlier that in Miami, I had to get out of the way, that was my sacrifice in particular with that team, so that LeBron and D could penetrate and get into the paint and do what they’re best in the world at doing. And as we continued to play, I had Coach, me and Shane Battier, we would talk all the time about it. But then I had discussions with coaches as well.
And somebody said something one day. He said, “Hey man, just take a step back, take one step back, shoot the same shot, but just take a step back.” Because I was always an avid worker on my jump shot. I was pretty good. I was lethal from mid range. That was my thing. I always worked on it and worked on it. So it’s the hundreds of thousands or millions of reps that I have shooting the ball, I know I have a touch anyway. It was just extending the range.
So it was kind of one of those things that if you’re good at short range and midrange, hell, if you practice your long range you can be pretty good too. But getting those fundamentals of the shooting motion, the arm, snapping your wrist, following through, balance, all these different fundamentals that you learn and what goes into a great shooter, going and seeking that advice, learning from other shooters, always kind of taking in information, but relying on my own information. I think you have to have a good foundation on what you’ve done already by yourself, even if it’s in the weeds or in the dark, and then you have hopefully someone that can refine what you already have, or say something to you to say, “Hey man, take a step back. You can shoot threes.”
And then I started shooting threes. And then as I became more consistent, I found more success. And it’s funny to watch the game now because I’m like, “Man, I could still be playing.” I’m 37. I saw myself playing until 37, 38. And I started practicing more threes because I saw where the game was going. I said, “Okay, yeah, they’re shooting more threes. Me and Shane have talked about this. Three is more than two. Okay, I’m going to start shooting more threes.” And in my last year in the league I had a higher frequency of three-point shots and I was seeing some success. So that was exciting. But that was like the part of my career that I never really got to crack open.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So with three-pointers, when you’re watching other players make three-point shots, are their styles dramatically different or are the good three-point shooters, do they all have the same ingredients?
Chris Bosh: I think there’s the same ingredients. I mean, you’re always going to get different flavors. But it’s the same ingredients to me. It’s always follow through, one fluid motion, and good balance. If you have those things, you can shoot the ball. And I always — it’s kind of funny, you learning to shoot free throws. I would always tell people, I give my friends pointers. So I have a few buddies that, they’re producers and songwriters. They always play in rec league games. I won’t give away your sauce, dude, don’t worry I won’t give away your position. But I would, I just give them pointers and say, “Hey, man, can you help me with my shot?” And I just look at them, shoot a couple of times, and give them corrections. And then they see instant success, but that’s just, elbow in, follow through, one fluid motion, boom.
You have a better — you just wanted to go straight. And you can get super deep into it, trajectory and all that stuff.
But that’s when you see it’s good to get into the fundamentals of where the ball is supposed to go and how you’re supposed to hold it. But one of the things that we always do is just start with one-hand shooting. I don’t know if they had you doing that, right under the basket, just all day, and just get a lot of repetitions in there, build that muscle memory, and then you can start stepping back as you get better.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. The thing that kind of blew my mind also, which I hadn’t thought about at all, because why would I, I hadn’t had any exposure, was, I was just missing, missing, missing. I was like over 20, even at a close distance. And one coach — I’m blanking on his name, I want to say it was Rick Torbett, but he did an eye dominance test, and he’s like, “Oh, you’re right-handed, but you’re left-eye dominant.” And he’s like, “Yeah, shift it like an inch over.” And then the whole thing changed. I was like, “Wow.”
Chris Bosh: Yeah, that’s pretty good.
Tim Ferriss: Wow. That’s a thing. Okay.
Chris Bosh: That’s pretty good.
Tim Ferriss: Well, maybe someday I’ll pick up a basketball again. Got to confiscate all phones and cameras first. This’ll be critical to my self-esteem.
Chris Bosh: Close your right eye and shoot it.
Tim Ferriss: What did it feel like going from, and why did you go from Toronto to Miami? Because you were king of the hill —
Chris Bosh: Yeah, I was Mr. Canada.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, you were Mr. Canada.
Chris Bosh: It was a tough decision. I loved Toronto and Toronto loved me. And it was great just to be able to compete and put a city or a country on your back and just hope for the best, and just go out there and work hard every day. And I just felt like a pillar of the community, I wanted to do it so bad for Toronto. You eventually get to a point in your career where you have to make a choice. And I went to, I talked to many people. It was a dilemma. I didn’t know what to do. And if you’re familiar with popular culture, or maybe not, that year in 2010, there was a, that was like the first mega free agent — everybody who was free agents, it was about eight or nine free agents that’s like, okay, they’re the best eight or nine guys in the world right now; they’re ready to go. Things can and will dramatically change.
That was the atmosphere that was coming. And I knew that was coming. And I had tried everything. I tried everything in Toronto. I tried to recruit, I tried to push myself, push my team, and we weren’t even scratching the surface. And one of the tough things dealing with it is seeing the early success of my peers. I wanted to win. I have always wanted to win and I’ve always wanted to put in the work to be able to do that and compete. And hopefully gain glory in that way. I talked to a lot of older players and —
Tim Ferriss: About what to do?
Chris Bosh: About what to do, and older gentlemen as well.
And the thing that I kept hearing was that “You want to play on the stage.” Man, it’s about going forward. It’s about competing for a championship. “You want to play on that stage.” That’s the phrase that stuck with me. And I had an opportunity to play with two other great players. And we had known each other since we were teenagers. I’ve known LeBron since we were 16, 17 years old. I knew Dwayne since we were 19, 20 years old, and it just fit. And it was a possibility to be like my heroes. I told you, I idolized Jordan and Kobe. And it was right there to be able, the calling happened and I wanted to play on that stage that I was talking about, was telling you, from since I was a little kid, I was watching Michael Jordan. I distinctly remember, and even, the moment I found out about basketball was because Michael Jordan was playing on TV all the time.
I mean even, we would go to Dayton, Ohio. My dad, he’d drive us, crazy, 18 hours in a single cab pickup truck, ’84 F-150, man. He’d drive us from Dallas to Dayton and drop us off. And every summer, ’91, ’92, ’93, for sure. The night that we got to my grandma’s house, The Bulls would be playing and it’s winning time. It was in the finals. And I understood after a while, after they get the trophy, I’m like, “Oh, wow, this is amazing.”
And I wanted to do that, man. And, I couldn’t even tell you what happened the rest of that summer. I couldn’t tell you what happened that night. I couldn’t even tell you who was around the TV. I know I was, and I was just taking it all in, and every year I would watch it and watch it, and watch it. And that’s all I wanted to do, aspire to do. And at that time, that situation was right there in front of me. It was right there in front of me to take, so I took it. And that was only a chance. This is just an opportunity, not to even say that you’re going to have success, but this is your best chance to go for that right now.
Tim Ferriss: Now, did you feel 100 percent confident when you made that decision and in the weeks and months following? Or were there any points where you’re like, “Oh, man.”
Chris Bosh: Oh, yeah. There’s always going to be those points.
Tim Ferriss: I don’t know.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. There’s those points, you get to those points. But I had gotten used to that by then. And for whoever’s listening, sometimes it’s just going to be like that. You’re supposed to feel it, right. You’re supposed to — it is a major leap of faith. And if you’re making that leap of faith, yeah, there will be some questions. But I always, that was part of my mental training. Like, “Hey, they’re just questions. That’s okay. Let’s just keep going forward.” Logically, it makes sense. It’s sound. And then, yeah, when the emotions come in and yeah, you get those feelings. Like “I don’t know if I can do this.” And we came together in such a way to where it was explosive and pretty infamous. So that comes into it as well. Yeah, you start having self-doubt. And that’s one of the things we eventually got to with talking with The Heat, that self-doubt is going to come, and doesn’t make you any less of a competitor or a person. It’s just a part of the process.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I’m so glad you’re mentioning that.
I remember, not too long ago, I was talking to a really — not on the podcast, this is a private conversation, but an extremely famous investor who from the outside looking in, I’m like, “Okay, this guy’s balls are bigger than my house. I don’t know how this guy — I don’t know how he does what he does. I would not get a second of sleep.” It’s just the risks that I perceive him as taking.
And we were talking about self-doubt and second guessing. And he goes, “Oh, just to be clear. He’s like, “No matter what, you’re going to have some regret.” He’s like, “If buy something and it does really well, you’re going to kick yourself for not having bought enough. Why didn’t I buy enough?” If you buy something and it does really poorly, you’ll be like, “Why did I invest in that?” He’s like, “No, either way, you’re going to have second guesses.” He was like, “Just accept that as part of the game.” And I was like, it was actually very stress relieving. I was like, “Oh, okay.”
Chris Bosh: Yeah, I’ve been fighting myself all this time, man. Because a lot of people, they get that and they think something’s wrong with them. Or they think something’s wrong with the situation or they’ll pull out, and say, “Hey, no, no, no, no.” I always kind of think of one of my favorite books was Blink by Gladwell. And just talking about the gut decision, trusting your gut, then we talk ourselves out of it. We knew the answer, then we talk ourselves out. Talking yourself out of it, that’s a part of it, it’s going to happen. But just stay with it, stay with what you said you were going to do, what you’re meant to do. And sometimes the self-doubt comes. You’ve just got to be like, “Shush, hold on. I’m working now.” It’s okay to dismiss that voice.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Totally. It doesn’t mean you’re uniquely flawed.
Chris Bosh: It does not mean that at all.
Tim Ferriss: When you were reviewing footage of yourself, could you give an example of, if one comes to mind, of when you did that and then once again, like how do you watch, what are you looking for and what are you seeing? Right? Because — someone was asking me as I was preparing for this, they’re like, “Well, have you watched basketball?” And I said, “I think I’ve seen basketball. I’m not sure I’ve watched it.” Because, for instance, I mean there are sports I know a lot more about, like wrestling or boxing or these things, and I can watch it. And I see things that some of my friends won’t see, just because I know the technical underpinnings.
Chris Bosh: Absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: So when you’re watching footage, if you can think of any examples of reviewing your own footage, why did you look at it? And then what were you looking for? What types of things did you pick out?
Chris Bosh: I think naturally every player will start on offense. They want to watch themselves on offense and it can easily turn into just a highlight tape.
Tim Ferriss: The Instagram of your own mind?
Chris Bosh: You know what I mean?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: Your highlight tape, and that’s — I would look for mistakes.
Tim Ferriss: Did you do that consistently? Did it start at a particular point? Was it always?
Chris Bosh: No, not always. Like I said, highlight tape. It started off as a highlight tape. So you just want to see yourself doing good, but then you get to a point to where you’re looking for the inconsistencies. Or if there was a game, certain particular game that you were unsuccessful, I’m looking at the whole game to see what exactly, why, what happened, what I can do to get better. What is this team doing? They might’ve had some success against me in defending me. So one of the things I would look for, I would look for, I mean, it’s so hard to describe but I would look for everything all at once.
You get to the point where you’re looking for everything, but the main, main, main things were defense and offense. My positioning on offense, I would always look at my teammates’ characteristics, seeing what they’re doing. See what the scouting report on them is, they might do a certain particular move every single time in this play. And you have to watch film to know that. It would help build continuity. And we talk about it too. When you’re doing that, “I want you to zig instead of zag,” and it’s having those discussions.
Tim Ferriss: You watched the video with coaches, with teammates?
Chris Bosh: Everything. By myself, with the team. We always started practice with half an hour of film.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, you did?
Chris Bosh: Yeah. 45 to an hour if Spo felt long-winded. But yeah, we would —
Tim Ferriss: That was game footage?
Chris Bosh: Yeah, pretty much, usually the night before, looking at all the mistakes. And then I developed a habit of going home and dissecting other players. So in particular was Dirk Nowitzki, three-point shooter, seven feet, late ’90s, early 2000s. This is when it was, he was shooting threes back when it was very taboo, I guess, for a big to be doing all that stuff. But he revolutionized the game in that aspect. We lost against them in the 2011 finals, terrible, terrible tragedy. But one thing it inspired me to do, he did these certain particular moves within the system that, you couldn’t stop it. And I had to figure out what it was he was doing. So I watched a tremendous amount of film on him in particular, but what happened and, in our losing effort, but what happened was, you start seeing, like you’re saying, you start seeing other things.
So what I started doing was I started compartmentalizing the film and I would say, “Okay, I’m going to watch what Atlanta, or I’m going to watch what The Lakers are doing on offense.” It became this thing of, “Okay, I’ve got my offensive system down. I know my game. Now I will watch film on the other team. I just want to get inside the mind of the other team. I want to know all their plays. I want to know their best players’ best moves, so we can take all those things away.” So that’s what it became. I would study to take the top two high-percentage things away from a team or person.
Tim Ferriss: I have to imagine also that with that amount of footage and also just that amount of time on the court practicing, playing, that you’re almost certainly absorbing a lot more than you’re consciously aware of.
Chris Bosh: For sure.
Tim Ferriss: You know what I mean?
Chris Bosh: For sure. Absolutely. And what starts happening is, not that it happens on tap, but you can start anticipating what’s going to happen on the court. So things will just come to you and be like, “I’m going to run over here because I’m going to be wide open,” or “I’m going to crash the boards because I’m going to get a dunk.” And it happens. Yo, that shit is crazy. It’s crazy. But the more, it just becomes a part of you, the more that you watch it. And I was having those second guesses and doubts and stuff the other week I was talking with my buddy and I said, “Man, I should’ve, I could’ve done more, man.” He said, “Okay, stop. You watch more film than anybody I know.” Because film is more of a thing, a football term. So it was kind of like the quarterback in football, they have to watch a tremendous amount of film because they have to, it’s really anticipation.
They have to anticipate, they have to look where they’re looking and say, “Okay, this is what they’re doing.” If you watch enough film, you’ll pick up on people’s tendencies and you know what they’re about to do before they do it because he’s leaned in a little, those subconscious things that you pick up on —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah telegraph.
Chris Bosh: So, and like I say, you would be surprised how much success you have as a defender if you take the best move away. Every day I watch film, whether it’s the team or the player, and be like, “Okay, take away that from him, he goes right every single time; he’s got to go left today. And if he scores 30 points going left, hey, I’m going to tip my hat to him.” But percentage, that’s where we would mess with the data. We would play with the numbers, we’d twist the numbers a little bit. And team-wise and individual-wise, you develop a reputation for knowing the team’s plays. That’s the biggest thing. Right?
Tim Ferriss: That’s got to really mess with people.
Chris Bosh: It does, it’s just two minutes in the fourth quarter and they call the play, it’s like, “He’s going right there.” That’s why a lot of people look at LeBron, and be like, “Oh, my God.” These were the discussions we were having every day. LeBron James, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Dwayne Wade, Rashard Lewis, myself. We’re talking about, it’s like, I guess a master class every day in how to stop people or how to be successful.
Tim Ferriss: Take away one leg of the stool.
Chris Bosh: And then, hey, if they beat us with two legs, then, hey man, that’s a good job. But probably not.
Tim Ferriss: The footage is so important in the fight game too, whether boxing or MMA, same story, also because I guess like many sports, if you have person A versus person B, and A beats B, and B beats C, it doesn’t automatically mean that A is going to beat C.
Chris Bosh: Right. For sure. Match-ups and styles, and another component to that is, you might play a team like San Antonio in which we were duking it out with them for a couple of years. And they’ll run certain plays against certain teams, and have certain things, or they’ll play, they have certain set plays against you that they think are successful and you have to crack those codes and figure that out on top of the individual tendencies for Manu Ginóbili, for Tony Parker, for Tim Duncan, for Danny Green, you have to know their individual tendencies on top of the team tendency. So it can get pretty deep, like you were saying, get in the weeds, you can be in the weeds.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Manu is such a sweet guy. He’s close to here, lives nearby.
Chris Bosh: He’ll dunk on you, too.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, he’ll definitely dunk on me.
Chris Bosh: That was the thing about The Spurs, people are like, “Man, nice guys.” Well, he’s elbowed me in the face a few times. So you know, the “nice” guy!
Tim Ferriss: Gentlemanly elbow.
Chris Bosh: He’s a hell of a competitor.
Tim Ferriss: Let’s talk about Letters to a Young Athlete. So this is your new book. Why? Books are hard.
Chris Bosh: Books are hard. Books are hard.
Tim Ferriss: How did this come about?
Chris Bosh: So I was just in a place, I got the unexpected news that I wouldn’t be playing anymore. And I was just kind of in a place, and I was just, not wandering around, but reshuffling the deck.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, that’s a great way to put it.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. Getting used to being a father in the household, being a husband in the household all the time. I never knew how much time that I had given to basketball. And people think things are easy, and be like, “You should write a book.” I remember people were saying, “You should write a book.” I’m like, “What am I going to write about?” I didn’t even know what to even think about, but I just put it to the side and really didn’t think too much of it, but always being an avid reader, I guess it was somewhere in the back of my mind. I continued to think about it. And I was in a period whether I liked it or not of reflecting, I had never reflected on my career. You’re too busy playing.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. You’re in it.
Chris Bosh: You’re just in it. You’re too busy playing and going to the next thing and going from A to Z. And I find myself just reflecting on the journey and how that child from Hutchins, Texas was able to actually jump from lily pad to lily pad and make it to the NBA and actually be successful. And thinking about those who helped me along my path and all the coaches who set the wise words to me, friends who helped me out, my family, of course, that helped me out, my wife. And I was in deep reflection and then the opportunity came, we just kept talking about it, kept talking about it, I have agents and they were like, “Yeah man. Just keep talking about, you’ll think about it. Yo, you should meet Ryan. You should meet Ryan Holiday.”
“Yeah. I’ve read a few of his books, man. That’s cool.” So we met right down the street here in Austin and we hit it off. We had like a three-hour lunch just sitting and talking and shooting the shit. And we had a great time.
And then I said, okay, great. Let’s figure this out. And there’s no reason to talk to anybody else. He was the first person that we interviewed to help us out. And from then on we just were bouncing ideas. It took months and months and months, just to even figure out, what are we going to write about? But sitting there and being open to thinking of myself in that position of not being a player and thinking of, man, what would be the book that I wanted to read before a game, if I were a younger player today.
So this is kind of that book that I wanted to read. And one of my favorite parts about books like that is that they always translate it, whether you’re an athlete, whether you’re a CEO, a leader, a follower, a librarian, a teacher, we wanted to have those basic principles that apply to everything, whether you’re a young athlete or an old athlete. We wanted to have those lessons from myself that have actually helped me and worked, and from people that I admire, things that have, tools that have gotten them through challenges. I think that’s the biggest thing. There are challenges every day, everybody goes through challenges. And this is kind of a book to give you those tools to hopefully rise to the occasion when it comes.
Tim Ferriss: Who are some of the people you admire whose advice you have featured in the book?
Chris Bosh: Man, Spo of course, Erik Spoelstra is in there. My coach Leonard Bishop, we talk about some things like that. One of my good friends is Candace Parker. She’s in Chicago now getting ready for her season, but she’s such a tremendous athlete and a person. And we were having a particular discussion one time just about — and really just a female player, what they have to go through. We were in Beijing and the whole female team after winning squad, they have to go to their respective places to go start a season, not in the States, not home. They’re going to Russia. They’re going to Spain, from Beijing, China, and they just finished playing the whole summer, or they’ll finish the season in WNBA and then go right back to it. So they were summer, spring, fall, winter. They’re playing year round. And they don’t even get the credit for that.
That was just so inspiring to hear because it was like, “Candace, man, you really, it just doesn’t stop. It never stops. I know it doesn’t stop for me. And I know how I feel. How do you feel?” and just kind of hearing her story and how she gets through that. I don’t think she does it anymore. I don’t think she plays in Europe anymore, but when she was, just hearing those stories and how to actually get through that and be successful and still be the MVP, and still compete for a championship in both leagues, that was tremendous. And of course, Pat Riley, he’s always been a great motivator and mentor or for me. And we had a discussion with him kind of jumping back to the book thing. He was one of those encouragers too. He said, “You should write a book.” And he said, “You don’t have to think about it now, but just think about it. This is what I did when I wrote my book, The Winner Within. I was going through this and yeah, it’s a good thing. You should check it out.” And this was a casual launch in Malibu. I really didn’t think anything of it, but he’s always been that person to really be an example and he’s one of my heroes and he read the forward too, it was so cool —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it was really amazing.
Chris Bosh: And it turns out he’s a huge writer. He empathized with me quite a bit because his career, like mine, whether it was because of other people’s opinion or professionally being able to withstand the athleticism, that the new league was coming or whatever, his career just abruptly ended just like mine. And, he is a writer as well and he told me about his writing experiences and he’s got a few books out there and he’s even wrote screenplays and stuff like that. So, it gave me the openness to accept other things and say, “Well, okay. Just get the wheels turning. What if I were to write a book, what would it be about?” And a two and a half year process, man —
Tim Ferriss: Before you know it, two and a half years later.
Chris Bosh: Two and a half years, but going and looking within to try and find those stories and those principles to what has made me me.
Tim Ferriss: You mentioned Pat a few times. What do you think his super power is or super powers.
Chris Bosh: Motivation and excellence.
Tim Ferriss: So, a lot of people try to be motivating. Right?
Chris Bosh: Yeah, that’s for sure.
Tim Ferriss: So, he’s good at it?
Chris Bosh: He’s good at it.
Tim Ferriss: Why is he good at it?
Chris Bosh: Well, the experience.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. What’s the experience?
Chris Bosh: He’s got the experience. I think when you’re in team sports for so long and you’ve seen every level, whether that’s good or bad and everything in between, I think you can start to collect things that work and things that don’t work. And in the NBA, you’re around each other every day. And I’m sure there’ve been plenty of things that he said that didn’t work.
Tim Ferriss: Those get left on the cutting room floor.
Chris Bosh: Yeah, it’s like, “Okay. That’s okay. That’s all right.” But, he’s experienced —
Tim Ferriss: He’s like, “Crickets? Okay. We’re going to cut that one from the next speech.”
Chris Bosh: “Yeah, they didn’t care for that one in practice, so we’ll move on from it.” But he’s an extensive note-taker. I know that. A voracious reader and talking to people. I think that’s one of the biggest things, actually having that relationship and having those conversations and sitting down to talk with a person, because if you come in just trying to be a motivator, why? You have to have a why in things that you do, and sometimes it can backfire. If you’re trying too hard to be a motivator, it can come off as phony and people are very smart and they can pick up on those things. Pat, he’s always had that open door policy. He’s always been one of those guys, you just knock on his door and talk. It can be intimidating. A lot of people don’t do it.
It can be. It’s like going to the principal’s office, but he has always been open. I mean, many dinners, lunches, talking, dissecting the game and he wants to be great. I think a lot of people can work on their appetite to be great. And that doesn’t necessarily mean having a bunch of money or having a bunch of tremendous amount of success. That could be, “Man, I’m coming here. I’m being consistent. I’m working every day. I’m putting in the work. My mental preparation is good. I’m ready to carry out this task for this goal, having this unified goal and going after it.” I think sometimes it’s being as simple as that can be a tremendous help for a lot of people. But with Pat, once he identifies a goal, I mean, he goes after it passionately and wholeheartedly. And then that’s, when you get into the teeth of it, when you’re in the foxhole, that’s when the passion comes out. You can’t really motivate someone and you just met him or it’s going good. That’s very naturally going. You want to motivate somebody when it’s tough and you have to be in there with them suffering.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. The shared privation!
Chris Bosh: Not to be too dramatic, but yeah you’ve got to take part in the suffering to get over the hump.
Tim Ferriss: So, this is going to be a strange segue, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to start on this one and we’ll probably go for just a few more questions. True or false, I read that you are a fan of Leonardo da Vinci.
Chris Bosh: I am.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. Please tell me more. Why? How did that come about?
Chris Bosh: I can’t remember how it really happened. Of course, everybody knows the Mona Lisa and the famous inventions and things that he had. I got my hands on one of the books about his notebook and I read it. It was amazing. I love Italy. And we went to Rome. I went to Rome pretty early in my career, around 2007, 2008, somewhere in there. And so the fascination’s already there. I got to see the Colosseum and I was already infatuated with those things and I got to see that. One way or another, I started reading books and I read the biography Walter Isaacson wrote —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, that’s great.
Chris Bosh: That’s a good one. It’s amazing. But I guess, you were alluding to learning to learn and pushing the human mind and all that stuff. I was just always fascinated by that. So naturally he just became a person to emulate.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. The polymath of polymaths. I mean, the breadth of his fascination is just amazing. And also, and I know that you know this, but if you look at the entire pie chart, let’s just say, of his completed works, or actually I should say his works and the percentage that were completed versus incomplete, very high percentage incomplete —
Chris Bosh: For sure and that’s a perfect segue, actually. I’ve had to come to appreciate that because one could consider a lot of his unfinished work to be a masterpiece and that’s how I look at my career because it was, in my opinion, it was unfinished, it’s finished, but it was still an unfinished painting, in my opinion. And that gave me a little confidence too, like, “Yeah, he didn’t even finish all his paintings, you guys.”
Tim Ferriss: “That was da Vinci, people!”
Chris Bosh: Yeah. You know what I mean? And one of the cool things, me and my wife, we love to vacation. Getting to see those things in person. I mean, I’m an avid note-taker and I doodle and draw and have sketchbooks all over the place, so that was a natural connection right there. But then, actually seeing the paintings, we saw the Mona Lisa in person, we saw the Last Supper in person, which they were so nice and gave us a private tour in Milan. And when you see it is — have you seen it?
Tim Ferriss: I have not.
Chris Bosh: It’s bigger than the size of this wall. People can’t see it, but I thought it was like more of —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, arm-to-arm. Like Tim Ferriss arm-to-arm.
Chris Bosh: Man, that thing is huge. It’s the whole side of a building and it was just breathtaking and just got away. But seeing these relics and all of these things that still stood the test of time and he’s still actually, here today and just seeing that, it was very inspiring. I was always fascinated in the Renaissance period and knowing that the houses were right down the street — so, you could go and go study under Michelangelo and be a sculptor. And you could go under da Vinci and be a painter and it’s all right there in this small little space outside of Florence or in Florence or whatever, I can’t remember —
Tim Ferriss: Just think of the density, it’s crazy.
Chris Bosh: It’s crazy. It showed me that things are possible that you could do. It was just through his observation and extensive note-taking and curiosity. I try to embody those things.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And he had these, also, these incredible inventions and part of the reason this is reasonably fresh on the mind is that I’ve interviewed Walter Isaacson a few times and interviewed him about his da Vinci book. And even some of his inventions were just these passionate, accurate predictors of the future, like hundreds of years later. And a lot of them were terrible and they never would have worked. And you would not want to be wearing his mockup for bird wings and jump off a cliff. And I think that’s also very inspiring in a way, because he had these masterpieces that were masterpieces, despite the fact that they were incomplete. Maybe in some ways that makes them even all the more interesting. And he also had misfires. Right? And so, it’s like, if Leo is allowed to have both of those, maybe we should be allowed to have those —
Chris Bosh: It’s okay. We could have them.
Tim Ferriss: And I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I apologize if you’ve been asked this a million times, but I think for people listening, your story has many different points that can be inspiring. The one that I think everyone can identify with certainly is points in life when you realize that certain things are within your control and certain things are outside of your control. In fact, a lot of things. And, so you have this pulmonary embolism and for reasons, or for causes perhaps partly known, partially unknown, that marked the beginning of an end of a career, are there any particular books or resources or advice or anything that helped you through that period? I mean, what was it like emotionally when you realized, “Okay, I can’t actually forestall this any longer. This is it.”
Chris Bosh: It happened in stages. I knew I wasn’t going to play again for sure all the way when a player by the name of Gordon Hayward, he’s still playing to this day, thank goodness. He dislocated his ankle. I hadn’t played the year before and I still had dreams and aspirations of playing in the NBA. And I mean, that took all the wind out of my sail. First game of the season, first five minutes of me watching that season, I was like, “Let me watch basketball. I’m going to get back into it because I’m playing this season. Somebody’s going to pick me up, and — that’s a dislocated ankle.”
Tim Ferriss: In that game.
Chris Bosh: In that game. I hadn’t watched basketball in close to a year. First game that I watched, Gordon dislocates his ankle. And I mean, whatever motivation that I had instantly went away and I said, “Oh, man, that could be me.” Oh, boy, those workouts just weren’t as intense after that. In the midst of figuring these things out, I can’t remember what I read, but it was pretty much trusting everything that I read and all of these books that say find what you love to do. You’ve got to love it. And it sounds great until you’re put in that position. Right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Chris Bosh: And so I found myself asking, “Well, what do I love to do? Basketball. Okay, what else?” I had to answer that question. I didn’t know anything else. And I had to deal with the preconceived notion that I guess, people think I’m smart, which is great, “Chris, you’ll be fine. You’ll figure it out.” But in that moment, you still have to figure it out to figure it out. And so I sat, I was finding myself sitting around, “Okay, let me answer this question. What else do I love doing?” And that’s where music came in and I always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. It was one of those things where I gave up two or three times in my teens and 20s. So I said, “Man, you know what? This time, I’m going to pick it up and I’m not going to put it down. I’m going to learn how to play. I’m going to learn how to play an instrument.”
Tim Ferriss: Which instrument?
Chris Bosh: The guitar. I started with the guitar.
Tim Ferriss: Let me ask this really naive question. I’m just looking at the size of your hands compared to my hands. Is it harder for you to form chords on a standard guitar?
Chris Bosh: Yeah. It is a little bit.
Tim Ferriss: All right. All right.
Chris Bosh: The things you have to but you’ve got to figure out.
Tim Ferriss: I was like, I’m thinking maybe bass?
Chris Bosh: It was just the same, not core structure, but it’s the same, what do they call it? The string patterns and everything. The notes, it’s all the same system. So, yeah. I’ve recently gotten into bass in the last few weeks and months, but yeah. I mean, I wanted to learn how to play the guitar man. And I said, “Man, I never stopped.” Does it make any sense? Of course, it doesn’t make any sense, but I love it. I love it. I was watching the Rolling Stones was on TV playing their —
Tim Ferriss: It doesn’t need to make sense.
Chris Bosh: Well into their life and they’re still doing shows. I said, “I want to do that. I’d do that for free.” And then I found myself, my wife and I, we were already avid music lovers and stuff like that. We cranked it up a notch. We went to rock festivals. We went to Coachella, Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, going to see certain shows, meeting all of these cool musicians and just doing something different. And I mean, it was just, it was amazing. And I started getting magical feelings and those things that magic that you want to pursue. It didn’t make any sense at the time, I just knew it felt good. And so that opened up a new world of possibility to me, and I started making more friends, making great connections. Music is one of those things that really do bring people together and it’s a live element to it. It’s a recorded element to it. It’s just all these different elements that you could put together or keep separate and just really enjoy it.
And so then, I found myself, okay, playing a guitar and then I wanted to make beats. Then it just went out to full-fledged productions and writing sessions and stuff like that. But continuing to go on and meeting great people. Rico Love is a great friend of mine. Miguel, the artist Miguel is a great friend of mine. Meeting Billy Corgan, meeting Collective Soul, having beers after their show, and just hanging out. There’s some Atlanta, Georgia boys. We’re connecting with so many different people in so many different ways was really, really cool. And especially here in Austin, it’s been great. Gary Clark, we met him a few years ago, but I was just so enamored by how he could play the guitar, man, and just do all these cool things. So that’s just really been a thing that has actually turned into something, but has been great for the spirit.
Tim Ferriss: What would you, aside from trying to find the thing that lights you up inside, because I’m sure you had some dark moments too, I would imagine —
Chris Bosh: For sure.
Tim Ferriss: For someone who’s going through an experience like that, maybe there’s something they had planned that they no longer can pursue. Maybe they had a career or a relationship or something and now they just feel this void and they just feel directionless, not necessarily hopeless, but just really unsure of what to do. What advice might you give them or what would you say to them?
Chris Bosh: Be open. I spoke with a friend, I won’t name who they are. I was having one of those days, right? Just in the dumps and I was taking this trip and I was doing some work and this particular person was running a network and running a company, the CEO, and I was feeling all bad and stuff. And I said, “Man, how do you know?” He’s a brilliant person. I want to get some insight. The first thing that person said was, “Well, I was a child with cancer. And when you really do go through a situation to where you’re going to wear hair or no hair, you truly do find out that it is upon you to make a choice to enjoy it, or be happy, or attempt to get yourself going.” And when he said that, I was like, “Man, all these problems that I feel that I have and this person just told me they were a kid with cancer.” So that made me realize, “Okay, put everything to the side. This person just told me that it is really our choice.”
Not necessarily that bad things won’t happen or life won’t throw curve balls or things happen, or you won’t be in a rut. It’s just that when you’re in this rut, it’s on you to get out of it and to actually have confidence. Now, people can help you, but one of the things that we always said in basketball, if you were on a shitty team, one of the worst experiences to have, because you’re losing and then you’re feeling bad inside, but then you’re making money and it’s good money and people are like, “Oh, you’re fine,” it’s like this paradox. But we always used to say, “Hey, look, nobody’s coming through that door. If you’re waiting on that perfect person or that perfect utopian moment to come, it’s not. You’ve got to start putting the work in now. Pick yourself up.” Self motivation, right? You’ve got to get yourself going and then you’d be surprised. Things start happening. But you can’t sit in the bed feeling sorry for yourself. That’s one of the toughest things to do.
Sorry with all these basketball analogies, but five-game losing streak, one of the hardest things to do is to bounce back and actually win a game because it’s hard. And start watching basketball. Watch a bad team play. They have a chance to win the game. They’re in the game, one bad thing will happen and they just, the body language, the shoulders start slouching, people start — no, no, no. Keep playing. Yeah. Okay. There’s a couple things that hurt or there’s a couple things that hell, it sucks. Let’s get that out the way. It sucks right now, but we’re not going to no pity parties. That becomes being old very fast and you do see success. That’s not going to take away the challenges. You’re still going to be faced with challenges daily. But if you get into the mindset to where you say, “Okay, hey, problem, solution: look in the mirror. What am I going to do right now, because I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself.” Because it’s so easy, right? You can just, “Oh, man, the coach, they did it. Oh, man.”
After a while it gets old. And I assume if someone’s listening to this now, even if they’re in a place where they don’t want to be and frustrated with it, it’s a daily grind, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow. You’ve got to make that decision. Start focusing, start visualizing, and start working toward that goal and know just because you had this moment of thought and say, “Okay, I’m going for it.” The seas aren’t going to part. It’s just not going to just open up for you and say, “Okay, Chris, great. Yeah, this is what you wanted? Why didn’t you ask?” It’s not like that. You’ve got to be consistent, be diligent, and just know that the challenge is going to come and when these things arise again, I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. We’re going to win this game even when it gets hard. And then we’re going to do it again and again and again and again, and just get to that point.
Tim Ferriss: That’s a great story. It is. And when you had that conversation with this, I guess network exec, do you recall what the next thing was that you did when you were like, “Oh, wow. Okay. That puts things in perspective.”
Chris Bosh: I stopped complaining. I didn’t know I was complaining, but I heard myself. I heard my language. Sometimes you’ve got to listen to yourself and this was me after me promising myself that I wouldn’t complain after I came from Africa. I went to Africa, we went to Joburg. We went out to Kliptown in Soweto and saw real poverty. I went to India, speaking of being the NBA global ambassador. We went to places and we have seen real poverty that make the projects look like a five-star hotel. And so when I saw those things and you take in all that stuff, it’s like, “Man, it’s heavy. What have I been complaining about? I haven’t been complaining. Man, I’ve been complaining a little bit.”
When she said that, I instantly stopped feeling sorry for myself and said, “Okay, at the end of the day, 13 years in the league and I’ve got a shot at doing something else. That’s all I need.” I don’t need, like I said, that leader to come by and I say, “No, Chris, let me tell you something.” Kick the door in and just get me going. That right there, it was like, oh man, I felt bad for even having, not weakness, not points of weakness, but just having those thoughts and just saying — what do people say? “If you think you’ve got problems, or everybody puts their problems on the table, you’ll pick yours back up real quick.”
Tim Ferriss: I’ve never heard that. That’s great.
Chris Bosh: That’s pretty much what it was. Like, “Okay. I’ve got some problems, but man, okay.”
Tim Ferriss: I’ll take those back.
Chris Bosh: Yeah. I want them back. “How are you feeling?” “Fine. I’m doing great.”
Tim Ferriss: I’m so glad that there we’re having this conversation. It’s so easy to complain and I feel like I’ve been complaining a lot in the last handful of weeks and it’s socially reinforced. You will find somebody, if you go searching, who’s going to encourage you, “Oh, yeah. You’re right to feel that way. Oh, that’s terrible.”
Chris Bosh: And then how do you feel, right? How do you feel when you’re doing it and that’s for people listening too and make you look at who’s around you a little more and it’s because it’s like, yeah, yeah, it’s tough and it sucks. And it’s been like that for years, but aren’t you tired of it? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired, right? After a while, it’s not going to change, these habits that you’re building. You’ve got to think about the habits that you’re building. I tell people to be conscious of what you’re consuming, especially nowadays. I tell my kids that and I try to, even for myself, just with everything you can consume, it’s a lot of BS. So just be aware of what you’re putting into your mind, what you’re thinking about, and yeah, birds like a feather, right?
If you find yourself complaining and yeah, people ASAP, you can have a pity party, but after a while, they’re going to get tired of you complaining; they’re going to be complaining about you. So you just get to a point where it’s like, “Okay, hey, man, let’s talk about solutions. How do we get out of this rut?” Or “How do we find that next thing to do?” For me, music and writing, I would’ve looked at you like you had eight heads, five, six years ago. Music, maybe five years ago. Not so much writing. I always did them but just thinking of that, I wouldn’t have even come close at that time. But going through challenges and situations, you want to come out better, right? You don’t want to still be holed up talking about what could have been or why it didn’t happen. That gets old after a while.
Tim Ferriss: So, ladies and gentlemen, if Chris Bosh can have these days, you can too. But it’s about what you actually do in response to those days —
Chris Bosh: It’s the response, man.
Tim Ferriss: And, a long time ago, you’re inspiring me. I’m going to do it again, I read a short book. It was called [A Complaint Free World] written by Pastor Will Bowen, I think is the name. And it’s just a commitment to not complain for 21 days —
Chris Bosh: I like it.
Tim Ferriss: And it had a huge impact —
Chris Bosh: I’ve got to read that.
Tim Ferriss: And I’m going to do that because like you said, if you were to put your problems on the table with even a small subset of humankind, you’d be like, “I’ll take those back. Thanks. Thanks. Nobody take my problem cookies. I want those. I’m going home with those.” And it really does make a tremendous difference and I think that Letters to a Young Athlete is going to do a lot of good. I’m very excited about this. I am thrilled you took the time to do it properly, two and a half years. When I hear people like, “Yeah, we started writing. Three months later, we were done.” I was like, “Don’t send it to me.”
Chris Bosh: And hey, look, would I have preferred it to be one, one and a half? Sure. We had the intention but the process is the process —
Tim Ferriss: The process is the process.
Chris Bosh: You go through and we’ve been hands on. From the jump, this has been so special to me, but it’s like I was joking the other day. We said, in writing about a book overcoming obstacles, we had to overcome obstacles writing the book. So, that was a good one, man and it was a tremendous process. And I think a lot of people will really, really be able to take something for themselves no matter what they do, they’ll be able to take something for themselves because, it’s been a team effort through and through. It’s been one of those things to where I’m talking about people that I admire and situations that I admire from my own life that was like, oh yeah, in the moment you’re just doing it. But then reflecting on it, it’s like, oh yeah, that conversation that I had with my coach back when I was 21, that —
Tim Ferriss: Set off these ripple effects —
Chris Bosh: That set off the ripple effects so I wouldn’t freak out.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It makes me happy you took the time. I remember somebody said to me at one point, I was struggling as I do with any writing and I was struggling through a book. And they said, “Oh, you’re 90 percent done. Congratulations. You only have 50 percent left.” And I like, “Oh.”
Chris Bosh: 90 percent done, 50 percent left. Wait a minute —
Tim Ferriss: Wait a minute. They’re like [crosstalk]. And then they’re like, “You’ll see what I mean. You’ll see what I mean.”
Chris Bosh: No. That’s great.
Tim Ferriss: And I think, athlete is an interesting term, right? And Letters to a Young Athlete, you might even say Letters to a Young Competitor and people might be inclined to say, “Well, I’m not a competitor.” And I would say, you are. Even if you don’t compete with other people, there’s a competition like we’ve been discussing between your lesser selves and your better selves.
Chris Bosh: Absolutely. That ego, man. That ego —
Tim Ferriss: We’re all in the game.
Chris Bosh: Everybody’s in there. And, like I said, giving you the tools and teamwork is definitely one of the main tools. Of course, mental preparation, self motivation, getting yourself ready and going. But teamwork, working with others, learning how to coexist with people, going after that goal. I think that’s a huge, huge, important thing that we definitely, definitely talk about because going to Miami, playing with the best two players in the world. So, my ego had to take a back seat. I came in thinking I was going to be the number one scorer in the league. Definitely in Miami only because I said, “Man, they can score, but I can score too. And they’re going to be making plays for me.” That was in my head. But the math doesn’t work. You’re going to have to learn how to co-exist within this structure, being the third peg on the stool, nothing wrong with that. But fighting that notion that that actually means something and putting the team before yourself and making those tough decisions that you have to make because it doesn’t feel good, but the team is done.
So, “Hey, Chris, you need to play at the center, guard these bigger dudes because you’re the only one that can do it, rebound the ball and get it to these guys.” Like, “No, no, no, no. I want to score. You give me the ball.” “No, no, no, you must have it wrong. You get me the ball and everybody else get out of the way. That’s how we did it.” And it’s not necessarily the case if you want to be successful. So, that’s always a thing that always took very importantly and took to heart is that, if you’re going after a championship or legacy or greatness or something like that, and you’re part of a team, the team has to come before the person and what’s best for the team might not be best for your ego sometimes and you have to be okay with that. You’ve got to tell your ego, “Take the back seat, let yourself take the back seat. We’re going to be champions, man.”
Tim Ferriss: Sometimes that’s what it takes.
Chris Bosh: Yeah, man.
Tim Ferriss: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together and —
Chris Bosh: Together, man.
Tim Ferriss: Chris Bosh, @chrisbosh on Twitter. Also on Instagram @chrisbosh, official Chris Bosh on Facebook. The new book is Letters to a Young Athlete. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. It’s so nice to meet you.
Chris Bosh: Same here. Nice meeting you, man. It was great.
Tim Ferriss: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the audience? Any other requests, comments, questions, anything you’d like to add before we wrap up?
Chris Bosh: Oh, man, I just love starting a discussion. I think that’s what the future is really going to be about. So, I want this book to be a discussion and really, all books and just be a civilized discussion where we can see where each other’s coming from because I think nowadays, things get polarized and either taken out of context or being too much. I just want everyone to know how important this book is to me, but with that said, we want to start the conversation of how to be great. Breaking those things down, how to constantly get over those challenges like I keep alluding to, that are coming and to have those open discussions and just man, just continue to push the boundaries and in a positive, great way, but just let everybody know they can do it. If they have that thing, do it. Don’t wait and you can do it.
Tim Ferriss: Look in the mirror, don’t complain and —
Chris Bosh: Problem and solution: look in the mirror.
Tim Ferriss: Problem and solution. Letters to a Young Athlete is the book. And I’m excited for you. It’s a big accomplishment. I know how much effort goes into it and I’m thrilled that people will get to learn also the principles, right? You’ll have stories, but also the principles that you’ve applied, not just to one thing, but to many things, even though you are best known for one thing. And I think, in a way the obstacles that you’ve faced within the context of a book like this are a tremendous gift because there are battles everyone is fighting that we know nothing about. Right? And you’ve had to face and overcome obstacles yourself. And I think that is incredibly humanizing also —
Chris Bosh: Absolutely. And that’s what I like to call the pillars of getting through things. The pillars of success is my working title for this perseverance. Mental preparation, rising to the occasion. Teamwork is a huge of them. Visualization is huge because I feel in my life, everything that’s happened, I always saw it in my mind’s eye first and did hours and hours and hours of imagining. And then, it’s time to put in the work after that. And you can’t just sit there and dream about it. You’ve just got to go out there and do it and work, be calculated. Of course, you just can’t go out there with no goal and just run around like a chicken with your head cut off, but you can identify that goal and then work backwards and say, “Okay, what do I need to do?” And work hard at those things.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, one step at a time. Chris, thank you so much for taking the time.
Chris Bosh: Thank you, man. I’m so glad to be on here. It’s great. I’ve been listening for years and it’s great to be on here. Really cool. I hope it fits.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it does fit. It’s great to spend some time together and for everybody listening, we will have links to everything, including Letters to a Young Athlete in the show notes at tim.blog/podcast, easy to find. And until next time, thank you for tuning in.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.