An NCAA championat Duke, the second Alaskan player to make the NBA, the guy who left Clevelandwanting (the Cavs say he bolted as a free agent in 2004 after verbally agreeingto stay), Utah Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer is now in his first NBAplayoffs—and cleaning up. He was averaging 24.7 points in the postseason,knocking down 34 in Game 4 of Round 2 to help Utah take a three-games-to-onelead over Golden State. At 6'9" and 266 pounds Boozer is a bruiser (20rebounds against the Warriors on May 7), and at 25 he is a cornerstone of theJazz's—and perhaps the NBA's—future.
On playing in acity with one major pro team
You are a lot more magnified. When you go out, everybody knows who you are. InCleveland you could be more anonymous. I get comped at so many restaurants herethough, so I'm not complaining!
On being asuccessor to Jazz great Karl Malone
Malone and John Stockton were pathfinders; they paved the way. I don't have tobe Malone, and [Jazz point guard] Deron [Williams] doesn't have to be Stockton.Some of the media expected us to be them because we do similar things on thecourt, but it's not fair to put that on us. I had to stop reading thepaper.
On fans' creativesigns
The other night a woman held one up saying, I USED TO BE HORNY, BUT NOW I'M ABOOZER. She was a Jeff Hornacek fan [the ex--Jazz guard]. I've [also] seen alot of negative ones. In Cleveland the most. I try not to pay attention.
My conscience is clear. I didn't do anything wrong. And when I went back, a lotof people—like LeBron and my old teammates—told me how much they missed me.
On growing up inJuneau, Alaska
You can go snowboarding year round, and basketball was maybe the second mostpopular sport behind hockey. We didn't live in igloos or fight with polarbears, but we had to take a plane or a boat to every road game. Every othercity was at least 30 minutes away.
On playing for theU.S. team this summer
I filled out the paperwork, and I'm going to try to play, but my wife is havingtwins, and I don't want to miss that. But playing for Coach K again, man,that's something I want.
On Duke playersnot always panning out in the NBA
Coach K finds players who fit into the team concept, first and foremost. He'sgood at finding everybody's roles, and it's always about the team. In the NBAit's all about one-on-one; can you beat your man or can't you.
On his moviewatching
I'm a big movie guy. But when you're married, you have to see every movie withyour wife. So when I'm out of town, I have to wait until I get back to seeanything. My collection of movies is [crazy]. I have a thing called aKaleidescape. It's like a movie iPod. You plug it into any TV in the house andgo. The thing has 50,000 movies! Greatest invention ever.
On how he met hiswife, CeCe
I just got to Duke for orientation, and I was in the bookstore. [CeCe] saw meat the bookstore but didn't talk to me. Then she looked me up in the schooldirectory, [called me] and said, 'I saw you at the bookstore; I wanted to seeif you wanted to go out some time.' I was like, 'Hell yeah, I'll go out withyou anytime.' She took me to her house and cooked me dinner. I called my momthat night and told her I had found the one.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE POWELL
HARRY HOW/GETTY IMAGES (BOOZER ACTION)