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Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh is bolstering his off-court image. (Mike Cassese)
Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh is bolstering his off-court image. (Mike Cassese)

Bosh bolsters portfolio Add to ...

The hopeless wimp. The cantankerous old man. The slick-talking used car salesman.

In just two years, Chris Bosh has morphed from simple NBA superstar into aspiring actor - and the Toronto Raptors forward is bringing his unique characters to DVD players everywhere with a video release slated for the fall.

The release will include a CD of Bosh's favourite songs, combined with performances from unsigned artists. The 25-year-old will also become the first athlete in the world to launch his own application for both the iPhone and iPod.

"Me and my business partner, we're always having different ideas and trying to explore different avenues, and find different things to do," Bosh told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview. "I'm just trying to evolve in what I'm doing instead of just saying in the same spot.

"I'm trying to grow."

Bosh has become a YouTube sensation with his self-produced videos in which he portrays a variety of different roles.

In one video, a meek Bosh prepares for his trip to the Summer Games in Beijing while a grey-bearded grump - also played by Bosh - berates him in a dream sequence. Bosh the athlete is instantly inspired, performing one-handed chin-ups and pushing kids out of the way as he runs at top speed.

Another vignette features Bosh as a cowboy-hat-toting used car salesman, urging fans to vote him into the 2008 NBA all-star game in New Orleans. The one minute 15 second video has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube, and landed Bosh an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" as a roving reporter for the 2008 NBA finals.

It's a unique side of Bosh that fans don't get to see when he's on the court - and it's a passion that led Bosh to collaborate with Warner Music on a release that will showcase his thespian talents.

"It's just a chance to be creative," said Bosh. "I already have a likeness with the other characters that people are familiar with. I felt it was necessary to apply that stuff, and maybe just put some more things in it.

"I do want it to be funny," Bosh added with a laugh. "That's one thing that I would like to incorporate into the whole thing. I just want people to have fun when they watch it."

The DVD, which Bosh says is still in its early stages, will also include biographical elements, chronicling Bosh's rise from a young boy in Texas to a key player on the gold medal-winning Olympic men's basketball team.

"I want it to be something out of the ordinary," said Bosh. "Something (the fans) have never really seen from me.

"Since it's an independent project, this is something that I can really control, and creatively, I can be involved with this, and get out there what people want to see."

The CD release will feature a combination of Bosh's favourite songs ("Hip-hop and popular music, mostly," he says) and new artists looking to make it big.

"I think you have to have a balance," said Bosh. "One important thing is that you have to have a mix of people you know and people you don't know . . . up-and-coming artists, and artists that are already out."

The iPod and iPhone app will allow fans to keep track of Bosh's Twitter feed, watch videos the moment they're posted, view his latest photos and monitor up-to-the-minute stats throughout the NBA season.

While Bosh already considers his free time a luxury, he said the added responsibility of providing video content and constant status updates is something he'll gladly add to his schedule.

"I really enjoy doing it," said Bosh. "This doesn't seem like work to me.

"Even if I'm working a 12-hour day on my summer schedule, it's fun to me. I would probably be doing this for free anyway."

A number of NBA players have jumped on the technology bandwagon - most notably Phoenix Suns centre Shaquille O'Neal, whose Twitter feed (The-Real-Shaq) has more than 1.1 million followers. Bosh (chrisbosh) has a modest 24,624 followers.

NBA players' involvement in social networking has come under fire in the past. Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva was given a tongue-lashing from head coach Scott Skiles after updating his Twitter status from the locker-room during halftime of a game late in the season.

While Bosh enjoys updating his feed as often as possible, he knows there's a time and a place.

"You have to be respectful," said Bosh. "Once I'm playing basketball, that's it for that time.

"I have all day before and I have all night after to do whatever I want. But for those three or four hours, I focus."

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