Carlos Boozer, a former Juneau high school basketball player and retired NBA all-star, talks with a student at his basketball camp in Juneau in 2017. (Nolin Ainsworth/Juneau Empire File)

Carlos Boozer, a former Juneau high school basketball player and retired NBA all-star, talks with a student at his basketball camp in Juneau in 2017. (Nolin Ainsworth/Juneau Empire File)

Carlos Boozer memoir includes full life story, Juneau years

NBA star and hometown hero pens “Every Shot Counts”

Carlos Boozer is best known for a career in the NBA, but he’s also an Olympian, a sports commentator, a businessman, and now, author of “Every Shot Counts: A Memoir of Resilience.”

Boozer recounts his all-star NBA career in the book, released in hardcover, e-book and audiobook versions Tuesday. It includes his relationships with stars like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, and other elite-athlete highlights.

It’s the rest of the book, which goes much deeper into Boozer’s life and his years in Juneau, that will speak most to Alaska residents.

Boozer lived here from the ages of eight to 17. Basketball was always an important part of his life, particularly in his later years at what was then Juneau-Douglas High School (before the Tlingit-gifted Yadaa.at Kalé was added to the name in 2019), where he led the Crimson Bears to two state victories.

But promotions for the book highlight the tragic event in Washington, D.C., that prompted his family’s move to Alaska in the first place. The decision followed an incident in which Boozer’s young friend, Chris, was shot by a gang member.

The two young boys, six and seven, were playing neighborhood basketball when Chris landed a basket, toppling another player in the process. An older kid, a gang member, got a gun from his backpack and shot Chris before jumping on his bicycle and peddling away. Chris died in Boozer’s arms. It took writing the book to bring the trauma to the surface.

Boozer’s parents loaded the car with Carlos and his older sister Natasha, and drove 2,800 miles to Bellingham, Washington. The ferry took them the rest of the way to Juneau. The family found a home in Douglas, and the memoir notes the impact of the transition from urban blight to the extreme beauty and wildlife of Alaska.

Scouts observed his skill as a high school basketball star and college ball offers, including from UCLA, rolled in. He chose Duke University because he wanted to play for Coach Mike Krzyzewskiat, who became a mentor and friend. “Coach K,” as he is best known, wrote the introduction for “Every Shot Counts.”

Boozer’s success on the Blue Devils — scoring 600 points in the 2001-2002 year — landed him as the 35th overall draft pick in 2002 and a job on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The forward went on to play for the Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Guangdong Southern Tigers. He also played on two U.S. Olympic teams, which earned him a bronze medal in 2004 and a gold in 2008.

Boozer has done a lot more than basketball. His sports earnings, which Sports Illustrated reported as close to $100 million in salary by about his 10-year mark in the NBA, enabled impressive financial investments. For example, he is a partner in Impeccable Brands, which among other things owns Popeyes, Tropical Smoothie, and Häagen-Dazs franchises.

Boozer lives in Miami, but has frequently returned to Juneau, including to host basketball tournaments.

“Every Shot Counts” is published by HarperCollins.

• Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190.

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