Heroes and Zeros: An Amare/Bosh Discussion

Amar’e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh have a lot in common. Both are 6’10” power forwards. Both have been All-Stars. Both were free agents in the Summer of 2010. And both are in arguably better situations now, then they were in last season. So why are people so quick to praise Amar’e, when Chris Bosh did it first? Why is Amar’e getting so much credit, so much recognition, this season, when Bosh hardly got any in Toronto? Geography, that’s why.

Let’s first look at the facts. Are they really so different? I mean, I don’t remember Chris Bosh getting any MVP chatter during his days in Toronto. Last season, both put up very similar numbers. Chris Bosh averaged 24 points a game, Amar’e averaged 23.1 points. Chris Bosh averaged 10.8 rebounds a game, Amar’e averaged 8.9 rebounds. Amar’e played 12 more games (82 total), and shot 55.7% to Chris Bosh’s 51.8%. So as you can see, both had pretty similar individual numbers last year.

Now, fast forward to this year. Both are the same players as they were last season. Nothing has changed, except the teams the two play for. Now, Bosh is the third option, behind Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami, and Amar’e is clearly the first option in New York. So logically, Chris Bosh’s statistics would be lower this year, than they were last year. Makes sense right? And since Amar’e is the first option in New York, and doesn’t have any teammates as good as Steve Nash, it would make sense that his numbers are slightly better this year.

Alright, so we can agree that Chris Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire are two players who put up similar numbers, or at least have done so in the past. So why is Amar’e being heralded as the “King of New York”? After 45 games, the Knicks are 24-21. Last season, the Raptors were 23-22 at the same mark. The Raptors would go on to win 3 more games after the 45 game mark to be 26-22. So 2010-2011 Stoudemire, is doing basically the same thing as 2009-2010 Bosh. Yet Bosh never got the love, and MVP consideration in Toronto, that Amar’e has gotten in the early stages of this season.

Don’t try to tell me that “Amar’e has brought the Knicks back to relevance,” because Bosh didn’t have to bring Toronto back to relevance. He made Toronto relevant. Bosh may not be as flashy, or explosive, as Vince Carter once was, but he has left his mark in Raptors history, owning nearly every team record.

So, again, why is Amar’e getting so much credit? The answer is simple. He plays for the New York Knicks. New York was named the most valuable NBA franchise yesterday, so it’s obvious that they have a very large fan base. Madison Square Garden is one of the largest stages in all of sports. Amar’e plays with literally, the whole world watching. Toronto can’t offer a player what New York has. New York gets games on national television. New York is internationally know, and loved. As much as I hate to admit it, you can’t say that for Toronto. Toronto is a beautiful city, but it just doesn’t have the reputation that New York has.

So while Amar’e of this year, and Bosh of last year, are very similar, Amar’e will obviously be getting more credit than Bosh ever did. Before this season, I thought playing in New York was overrated. When people said LeBron should play in New York, I thought, “What difference would it make, how much bigger can this guy get?” But I’m convinced. I’m also convinced that if Bosh were to play for New York, he would be getting the same amount of attention as Amar’e is. After all, Bosh did it first.

Want to take the discussion further? Be sure to follow Steve on Twitter @thatsthedagger, or leave a message in the “comments” section. 

Hardwood Paroxysm