Should Chris Bosh Have Stuck Up For Himself More While Debating Skip Bayless On ESPN’s First Take?
In case you missed it earlier this week, Chris Bosh was a featured guest on ESPN’s First Take, where he debated Skip Bayless on a number of issues, including Bayless calling him “Bosh Spice” and taking shots at him throughout the course of the last year. It’s nothing new to see a professional athlete sit in the chair and argue with Bayless, but in Bosh’s case, it was a little bit weird seeing him sit across the table from Bayless given how often the talking head has criticized him in the past. However, it was even weirder seeing the interaction of these two throughout the show.
In particular, the beginning of the show was tense. They started off First Take by talking about the “Bosh Spice” nickname and how Bosh felt when he first heard about it. He claimed that he didn’t care about Bayless criticizing him, but that he did care that his family name was being dragged through the mud. Bayless responded by saying that, while he certainly didn’t mean to be disrespectful of the Bosh name, he also wasn’t sorry that he came up with it. Bosh was very soft at the beginning of the 2010-11 NBA season and, by Bayless’s estimations, he deserved to be called “Bosh Spice.” End of story.
And then a funny thing happened. Bosh essentially agreed with Bayless and even thanked him for providing him with extra motivation to do better. Um, what?!? It wasn’t totally out of character for Bosh to respond so nicely—he is, by all accounts, a pretty nice guy off the court—but it was a littler bit strange to see Bosh essentially letting Bayless off the hook so easily. Shouldn’t he have, at the very least, reiterated the point that he made about his family not appreciating the nickname? Shouldn’t he have pointedly told Bayless to stop using it? Shouldn’t he have done, well, something other than just nod along with Bayless and let him have his way?
Maybe. But I also have to give Bosh a lot of credit for the way he reacted to Bayless at that point and at just about every other point during the First Take broadcast. He could have tried to argue with him, but Bayless would have simply pushed back and made him even more angry. It’s what Bayless gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to do. The guy causes a commotion and makes bold statements that get other people upset. So by acting like a professional, Bosh came across as a guy who understands the business and understands that Bayless isn’t necessarily attacking him or his family name when he calls him “Bosh Spice.” He’s simply doing whatever it takes to get good ratings.
As I said, I was also very impressed by how Bosh acted during other portions of the debate, as well. He’s taken a ton of criticism from the media and from NBA fans in the past, so it would have been pretty easy for him to jump on First Take and say or do something that would have gotten him even more criticism. However, he stuck to his guns, came across as a genuinely nice guy, and actually managed to outwit Bayless on a few questions.
So while it would have been nice to see Bosh rip into Bayless once or twice during First Take, I also think that it could have backfired and hurt him if he did it. And I have to admit: It was nice to watch Bosh do something and not be able to criticize him for it afterwards. Job well done, CB. You managed to silence a lot of your critics this week. Including the one who might’ve been your biggest.