It wasn't so much a press conference Tuesday as a reunion.
Officially, the Toronto Raptors were introducing multipurpose guard Jarrett Jack, the restricted free agent they snagged from the Indiana Pacers with a five-year, $20-million (all currency U.S.) deal.
Unofficially, it was a chance for Chris Bosh to catch up with old friends. So while Jack was doing his rounds, looking polished in a banker's suit, Bosh, still wearing his workout gear, was exchanging hugs with Jack's parents, Carlton and Louise, who made the trip from Fort Washington, Md., to support their son.
"My mom is up here all the time," Bosh said to Louise, who quickly asked about his father and his cousin.
"That's so good to hear," Jack's mom said.
It was that kind of signing for the Raptors. Not only does Jack provide exactly what they need to shore up their backcourt behind Jose Calderon and the departed Anthony Parker, he makes life in Toronto that much more comfortable for Bosh, with whom Jack played at Georgia Tech. The two have remained in close contact.
So close that when Jack learned of the Raptors' offer a week ago Saturday, his first call was to Bosh, and close enough that Bosh presumed his pal was messing with him.
"I told him it was serious and the next day it hit the media and he was excited," Jack said.
With good reason. Last season's disappointing 33 wins had many causes, but perhaps foremost among them was the weakness at point guard behind Calderon, who was hobbled much of the year by injury.
No wonder Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo played up not only Jack's skills - he averaged a career-high 13.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game last season while supplying determined defence at two positions - but his durability, pointing out that the 25-year-old is one of just 11 players to suit up for every game the past two seasons.
"He's an ideal fit," said Colangelo, who will now turn his attention to securing deals for Rasho Nesterovic and Carlos Delfino.
A not so subtle benefit is Jack's relationship with Bosh, whose signature Colangelo will try to get on a contract extension before the season starts.
"I hope so, I hope so," Jack said when asked if he thought he would be a teammate of Bosh's longer than he was at Georgia Tech, a union that lasted just one season as the all-star power forward left for the NBA after their freshman year. "As soon as I got the call and found out Indiana wasn't going to match [the Raptors' offer] I said let's make the most of this year and hopefully we'll try and get him around here for a few more years."
"He's already been working me," said Bosh, in Toronto for some commercial appearances. "It's two birds with one stone - he's a good dude, a good locker-room guy, and he can ball. Any time you have that, it's always a good thing."
Jack's list of intangibles doesn't end at being durable and an old friend of Bosh's.
In four seasons he's carved out a reputation as one of the NBA's most professional young players, putting winning ahead of his own agenda, suggested by the fact that he opted to sign on for what will likely be a sixth-man role instead of trying to find somewhere he would be guaranteed big minutes.
"I just try to have a relationship with every [teammate]in my own special way," he said.
It's a generosity of spirit he says came from his parents.
"Whenever my father was cooking in the neighbourhood, he wasn't just cooking for me or my younger brother, he was cooking for everyone, anyone who needed a plate," he said.
His mother had the same philosophy when helping out with Jack's youth basketball teams.
"It was always, 'Come in our house, we might not have a bed for you, but we're going to make room' " Jack said.Report Typo/Error