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The Original Boozer

Photo courtesy of http://msn.foxsports.com/

Photo courtesy of http://msn.foxsports.com/

Carlos Boozer is a player who invokes heated discussion amongst NBA and Bulls fans alike but it’s not the Bulls power forward who will be gracing the pages of NBA Nation Australia in this piece, no, it will be the Bulls original Boozer, Bob Boozer.

The Chicago Bulls were welcomed into the National Basketball Association at the start of the 1966-67 season and amongst its inaugural players was one Bob Boozer.

Boozer was a 6’8, 215 pound forward from Omaha, Nebraska and was born on the 26th April, 1937.

He played his college ball for Kansas State University where he was a two time All-American in 1958 and 1959. He went on to play for the gold medal winning United States Olympic team at the 1960 Rome games alongside greats such as Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. The team won eight games in Rome by an average of 42.4 points!

Boozer’s NBA career began in the 1960-61 season when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals as the number one overall pick. He went on to average 8.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game his rookie season.

Boozer spent the next five seasons playing for the Royals, Knicks and Lakers before he was drafted in the NBA’s expansion draft in 1966. The expansion draft saw the Bulls able to pick 18 players from all NBA teams to fill their roster in their first ever season. Each team was able to ‘protect’ seven of their players from being drafted by the Bulls. Boozer was selected from the Los Angeles Lakers after posting 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in the 1965-66 NBA season.

The Bulls first season in the NBA would be the catalyst for Boozer’s rise to an elite NBA player and one that is forever ingrained in Bulls folklore.

The Chicago Bulls went on to win their first three games as a franchise and would go on to a playoff appearance in their first year on the big stage. Boozer led the team in scoring at 18 points per game along with point guard Guy Rodgers, who also averaged 18.

The 1967-68 season began disastrously for Chicago as they dropped nine straight but it was Boozer and Jerry Sloan who would help break the drought for them in a game against the Seattle Supersonics on the 31st October 1967. The Lewiston Evening Journal had this to say on Boozer’s impact on the game.

“The Chicago Bulls have finally won their first game in the National Basketball Association this season after nine straight defeats. They beat Seattle 119-105 Thursday night in the only game scheduled.

The Bulls came from behind against Seattle on a neutral court at Spokane. Bob Boozer and Jerry Sloan sparked a 25-10 Chicago burst in the last seven minutes.

Boozer finished with 29 points.”

The 1967-68 season was to become Boozer’s best season in the NBA as he averaged 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting a career high 49.2% from the field. He also made his only All Star appearance that same year.

He would spend a total of three seasons playing for the Bulls and they would turn out to be his best years statistically as he averaged 20.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in that time.

In 1969 he was traded to the Seattle Supersonics where he played one year before going to the Milwaukee Bucks for the 1970-71 season.

The Bucks won the title that season behind the stellar play of a young Lew Alcindor, who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and The Big O, Oscar Robertson. Boozer played an integral part in the championship winning team, playing 20.2 minutes per game in the playoffs and averaging 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the post-season.

Boozer retired after the championship winning season with Milwaukee at the age of 33. He would return to his hometown of Omaha Nebraska, working as a telephone company executive and later working at a home for troubled youth.

He passed away on May the 19th, 2012 at the age of 75. He will be remembered as an integral part of the early days of Chicago Bulls basketball and a damn fine player with a hook shot to match.



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Gary Payton into the Hall of Fame

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfM1GrwPACk]

Gary Payton has just been inducted into the NBA’s Hall of Fame and it is thoughourly deserved. Payton was always a great player to watch. He was brash, arrogant but he knew how to back it up. He earnt his nickname ‘The Glove’ for his ability to lock down his man on defense. GP took this moniker to new levels when he kept Michael Jordan to below 30 points for three consecutive games in the NBA Finals. Nobody else has done this. This is amazing enough in itself but Payton also had a calf injury that would have kept others sidelined. (more…)



Kings Packing up Shop; Seattle to Reclaim The Sonics?

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UPDATE 21/01/2013:

Several sources close to the situation have indicated that a deal for the sale of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle’s Hansen-Ballmer Group is imminent. The reported settlement is said to be worth $525 Million and would see 65% of the Maloofs’ ownership go to Seattle. At this stage it is also reported that NBA teams have been notified, but the deal is yet to be approved by the league. More details ASAP.

From January 10th, 2013

Reports emerged on Twitter late last night of a blockbuster move which would see the financially decrepit Sacramento Kings relocate to Seattle after the Hansen-Ballmer Group made an offer to Kings owners the Maloof family to buy the team.

A press conference has been called, but as yet there is no official press release stating the move will indeed go ahead. The Maloofs are notoriously known for changing their minds last minute and the likelihood of them rejecting an offer remains high.

The projected figure of $500 million would see the franchise move to the old stomping ground of the fabled Seattle SuperSonics at Key Arena, before relocating to a new purpose built arena in the SoHo district two years later.

It is also reported that the Maloofs will likely retain a small percentage of ownership, but will ultimately have no say in the directions and choices the franchise takes.

Y! Sports was also told this morning that the buyer intends on reapplying the colors and name of the NBA history with which Seattle is known. Basically, we could potentially see the Seattle Sonics back in the National Basketball Association as early as next season.

More as it comes.

Nick C. (@NickoToGo)

Post Script: A new report has come through which suggests, as stated could happen, the Maloofs have rejected the offer made by Hansen-Ballmer and the deal is yet to be finalised.