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Give us Bosh the person Add to ...

It was noticed for the first time on media day when we saw an inky scrawl peaking out from the back of Bosh's jersey below his right armpit. I asked him about his tattoo and he mumbled something about it being a secret and not finished yet.

"Stay tuned," he said.

Turns out Bosh didn't want to spoil the surprise as he's turning his tattoo into his own reality show of sorts. At the Canadian Sport Film Festival a trailer for Bosh's soon-to-be-released DVD, First Ink will he shown. From the festival's web site - www.sportfilmfestival.ca - it's described thusly: First Ink follows NBA all-star Chris Bosh as he trains, relaxes and makes life-changing decisions during one of the most important off-seasons of his career. To be released in November 2009, this film reveals a previously unseen side of Chris, and the professional athlete.

Bosh won't be at the screening and I'm sure we'll learn more about it as the actual film - and tattoo - is completed. Count me as curious, I guess.

Clearly Bosh is trying express himself. What to make of it?

I've had my share of time interviewing him and people around him over the years but I can't say I know him in any meaningful sense. I like him. He's friendly and approachable; more willing than most professional athletes to engage in conversation, but what he really stands for I'm still not clear.

Cynically you could look at his considerable efforts to "grow his brand" - and yes Bosh uses the phrase in reference to himself - and say, enough already. Take the money, play your ass off and then leave me alone, you know? This isn't to say he's not welcome to do all the brand extending he could possibly imagine for himself. Just that I have a hard time getting excited about it.

Or, conversely, if you want to invite yourself into the lives of your fans, do it for real: Don't clam up when the news like your falling out with the mother of your daughter becomes public. Explain what it was like that caused you to have such a sudden change of heart regarding the relationship. Did you panic? Did it hit all of a sudden that this relationship was a lifetime thing and you weren't ready for that?

Surely a lot of people can relate to something like that.

But that's not what happened. When real stuff happened Bosh went silent; not even a tweet.

Chances are Bosh is just like a lot of other goal-oriented people his age. He's reached some if not all of his basketball goals, or at least the first stage: He's in the NBA, he's a star; he's rich and about to get richer still.

There's much work to be done as his off-season training seems to suggest he understands. Good is one thing, great is another entirely. Bosh sounds like someone who wants to be great and that's a goal he just might reach.

What to make of the other stuff? I'd be a lot more interested - and this goes for my feelings about just about any celebrity - in his iphone application and his DVD if it was him sharing what it was really like to be him and what he was really about, rather than time spent trying to present a version of himself that serves a brand strategy he might have.

Chris Bosh the star isn't that interesting to me. Chris Bosh the person would be.

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I won't be at the intrasquad scrimmage tomorrow in Ottawa, but as far as I know my colleague Eric Koreen at the National Post is still on board to get his 'fro reduced to a faux-hawk at halftime, the result of Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo daring him to, provided enough money could be raised for charity. Jose Calderon was explained the scenario yesterday and found it absolutely hilarious. The charity in question is the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I believe. The total is at $1000.

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Best line - second hand - I heard this week was that when Bosh gathered the team around for a "1,2,3 - Team!" thing at the end of one of the workouts, Jarrett Jack, his friend from Georgia Tech days said. "Team? You can't say that, you haven't even practised yet."

Word is Bosh and Turkoglu will continue to rest their ailments - hamstring and knee, respectively - through the weekend. Neither are expected to play on Tuesday when the Raptors open the exhibition season in London, Ont. against the Philadelphia 76ers.



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