NEW YORK -- Standing in front of his new milk moustache ad, a sure cultural sign of celebrity, Chris Bosh was asked if the opportunity came about after he signed with the Miami Heat.
"Yeah, of course," he replied, as if the answer should've been obvious.
So would it have happened had he stayed in Toronto?
"Uhhhhh," Bosh said, carefully pondering the question. "I would like to say yes, but you never know. It's a lot more likely that it would have came being there in the States, to be truthful. That's the unfortunate thing about sports sometimes."
The all-star forward entered free agency this summer, making clear he was seeking not only a chance to win but to raise his profile. Seven years with the Raptors sometimes felt as though he was playing on another planet.
Well, at least in another country.
"I just always wanted to be recognized as a good player," Bosh told The Associated Press on Wednesday at an event in Manhattan with fellow Olympic gold medallists Apolo Anton Ohno and Shawn Johnson to reveal his new ad. "I feel that I'm one of the best power forwards in the league, but I don't think that the exposure was there or the attention was there.
"Not to say that that's what I crave," he quickly added, then paused. "But the sports guy in me was like, 'Hey, wait a minute. What about me?"'
No more. Not after he thrust himself into the biggest sports story of the summer. Joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami gets him frequently mentioned in the context of "the three superstars who signed with the Heat."
And he's hearing from a lot of companies that are suddenly interested.
"It's night and day," Bosh said.
Bosh embraced the free agency frenzy, with frequent posts on his Twitter page. That wasn't much of a surprise, considering he once made a video of himself as a used car salesman pitching that he should start in the all-star game.
But he wondered if anybody noticed back when he was in Toronto. After all the recent attention, he often gets told by fans, "I didn't know you were funny. I didn't even know you had a personality."
Now they do.