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Chris Bosh Talks About The NBA's New Kids On The Court Dominance

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Turning now to sports, two big names are out of the NBA playoffs. For the first time in more than a decade, neither LeBron James nor Steph Curry will make the finals, and that may signal an exciting shift for the younger generation in the NBA who've been waiting to take the lead. Joining us now is two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh. Good to have you here on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

CHRIS BOSH: Man, thank you so much for having me.

SHAPIRO: You were drafted in 2003 alongside LeBron James. So how much of an earthquake is it that this year, we won't see him or Steph Curry move forward?

BOSH: Well, I mean, you know, it's not that much of an earthquake. We're talking about sustaining excellence for over a decade, you know? He's been in - what? - him and Steph Curry but especially LeBron, at least, went to every finals. I can't even - I lost count (laughter).

SHAPIRO: Sounds like you're saying this is not going to...

BOSH: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: ...Mar his legacy.

BOSH: It's not a big deal. There have been plenty of times where I didn't even make the playoffs, you know? So I think in their case, it's just one of those things. We all are at the hands of disappointing seasons. I think for both of those guys, they would want to continue to play. But, you know, over their careers, they know what's important. And especially this one - this year was a very long, very strange year because of the cramped year last year...

SHAPIRO: Yeah.

BOSH: ...And then rebooting it and getting right back to it. So, you know, I just expect them to kind of, you know, retool, get their - get healthy, obviously, with all those injuries and just come back stronger next year.

SHAPIRO: Let's talk about the younger players who you're most excited about. Who are you really psyched to see stepping into the spotlight right now?

BOSH: Man, I love the job that Devin Booker's doing, Donovan Mitchell. You know, I think Ja Morant, when they were in before they got eliminated - I mean, they're always knocking at the door competing, especially with Donovan Mitchell. They're - the Jazz team being in the No. 1 seed, being a strong home team and a top five team in both offense and defense. And, you know, let me see. Am I missing anybody? Oh, yeah, of course - Luka Doncic.

SHAPIRO: Of course.

BOSH: I mean, there's so many good players.

SHAPIRO: I was, like, waiting.

BOSH: So many good players. Yeah, Luka Doncic - he's been incredible. It's just like, when you're not sure he can sustain that level of play, he has better games.

SHAPIRO: Can you tell us about a parallel moment you might remember when you were coming up through the ranks and started to eclipse the players you had looked up to? Like, does it feel strange to beat your heroes?

BOSH: No, it doesn't feel strange. It feels - it's gratifying (laughter).

SHAPIRO: Yeah.

BOSH: It's gratifying. I mean, it's hard. My instance was with Kevin Garnett. He was one of my favorite players growing up, poster on my wall. But he was a very, very competitive guy. And it was confrontational - not in a bad way. But just - I knew that I was going to have to bring my best every single time. And it just becomes difficult because, you know, your rival, that person that you emulated, is great at what they do. And, you know, there's years and years and years of aspiring to get there. And when I say aspiring, I mean losing, you know, because...

SHAPIRO: (Laughter) Right.

BOSH: ...You're always finding out every year that there's another level that you have to gain that you do not have right now. So, you know, that was always my quest. It helped me in my quest. But, yeah, it does not feel good. But then again, it does feel sweet because there always - there's always more work to do even if you're successful.

SHAPIRO: That's Chris Bosh, NBA Hall of Famer and author of the new book "Letters To A Young Athlete." So good to talk to you. Thank you.

BOSH: I appreciate you, man. Thanks for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE WHO SONG, "EMINENCE FRONT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.