Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.
In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.
Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.
Boozer on ESPN:
I’m officially retired.
The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.
Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.
Then, he went to Chicago on a five-year, $75 million contract after the Bulls struck out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. The Derrick Rose-led Bulls never broke through, and Boozer was often the scapegoat.
Chicago amnestied him, and he spent his last NBA season with the Lakers three years ago.
Boozer was a pretty good player paid like a very good one, and that didn’t endear him. We mostly remember him for accidentally punching a referee below the belt:
Painting on hair:
And yelling “and one!” after nearly every shot.
For a while, it seemed the 36-year-old Boozer wanted to play another NBA season. But he finally could no longer find a front office eager to pay him.
It’s only fitting that he was denied that last “and one!”