For Bulls’ Boozer, leadership a priority
Carlos Boozer took the court for the first time as a member of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
But unlike when the NBA season begins in October, he was the only one in uniform during a photo shoot for the team at the Berto Center.
It’s been two weeks since Boozer agreed to a five-year deal with the Bulls and several more moves have followed as the team rounds out its roster. Two players Boozer knows well—former teammates Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer—are among those, in addition to center Omer Asik and point guard C.J. Watson.
“I lobbied for both of them,” said Boozer of Korver and Brewer. “I was talking to Gar, Pax and Coach Thibs about Kyle and his shooting ability. I lobbied for Ronnie to come because of his athleticism and defense. We need a stopper. We put him with Luol and we can defend anybody. Kyle can shoot the three as well as anybody I’ve played with. Those two guys are going to be great additions to our team.”
Since joining the Bulls, Boozer has been back in forth between Miami, his offseason home, and Chicago. He said he is enjoying the Windy City, having visited a few of the Gold Coast’s well-known restaurants and having made plans to dine with actors Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, who are in town to shoot a movie at the United Center.
While he’s happy to be in Chicago, Boozer has remained focused on his offseason priorities, including working on his quickness, post moves, free throws, overall efficiency and perhaps most importantly, leadership qualities.
“I want to do a good job of leading,” said Boozer. “I’m leaving a veteran ballclub and coming to a younger one. I’ve been writing some things down—motivational things—for the group to stay focused throughout the course of the year. It’s a long season. You go through ups and downs. As a leader of the team, you have to be able to keep everybody even keeled. Not too high, not too low.
“You want to maintain that confidence and belief that we can accomplish our goal no matter what,” he added. “If we win ten games in a row, we can be confident but still humble. If we lose four or five, we need to be confident and maintain that same level of trust in each other.”
While at the Berto Center, Boozer caught up with several members of the team’s front office, including Pete Myers, Randy Brown and radio analyst Bill Wennington. Though Gar Forman and Tom Thibodeau were away with Derrick Rose and Team USA in Las Vegas, he drew a comparison between his old coach, the legendary Jerry Sloan, and his new one.
“Coach Sloan was phenomenal to play for,” said Boozer. “He is a guy who preaches work ethic, hard work and going after it. That’s how he played and that’s how he coaches. It stuck with me because that’s my whole pedigree. I’ve been like that my whole life and coming to Chicago, it’s the same thing. Coach Thibs is a guy who wants you to go all out—dive for loose balls and go through a brick wall. Whatever it takes to win, do it; rebound, get stops, score. Be unselfish and part of a team.”
Boozer plans on being back in Chicago to work with team for 10-12 days before camp mid-September. He’s excited about what lies ahead and is ready to get to work.
“We’re adding pieces and seeing our roster fill up,” said Boozer. “We’re loading up and looking forward to getting going.”