NEW YORK (AP) — Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh was in the starting lineup for a playoff game against the New York Knicks on Thursday night, hours after returning home for the birth of his son.
Bosh flew more than 3,600 miles in a span of about 24 hours — starting with the team's charter to New York on Wednesday, then an unplanned trip back to Miami that night after receiving word that his wife was in labor, and ultimately back to New York for Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round series against the Knicks.
Bosh arrived at Madison Square Garden about 30 minutes before tip-off, getting a cheer from teammates in the locker room. He was on the court for warmups like usual, and clapped his hands repeatedly moments before the game began.
"He's very excited," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "While he may not be fully rested, he has an incredible amount of excitement right now."
Bosh's wife Adrienne gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy named Jackson, around 3 a.m. Thursday. She posted a photo of Bosh boarding a charter jet to a social media account late Wednesday night with the caption of, "Thank God for private flights...Hurry home Baby."
Hours later, Jackson Bosh arrived.
"A great moment for their family," Spoelstra said.
When Bosh made his hurried arrangements to leave the team Wednesday — hours after saying he thought the birth was at least a few days away — he told Spoelstra that he wanted to get back for Game 3, and he did. Bosh's plane touched down in the New York area around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and after some time fighting traffic he arrived at the arena.
"From a Dream, To a Thought, To Reality, To being in our Arms," Adrienne Bosh posted on Twitter a few hours after giving birth.
Many of Bosh's teammates can relate to what he's going through, juggling family responsibility with the demands of the playoffs. Shane Battier's wife delivered a girl last season while Memphis — Battier's former team — was facing San Antonio in the postseason. Mike Miller's wife gave birth during last season's Heat playoff run, and LeBron James' now-fiancee Savannah Brinson delivered their second child during Cleveland's appearance in the 2007 finals.
James and Dwyane Wade said they expected Bosh would get back in time for the game.
"It can be physically draining because you don't get much sleep while you're going through that whole process," James said. "But as far as mentally draining, I think the best way to deal with it is make sure the family's OK, make sure his wife of course is OK, and this is a great way to get away from it, to come back here and play the game of basketball."
Bosh averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds in the first two games of the series, which Miami led 2-0 heading into Thursday night.