Carlos Boozer:<br />
Balling for a Cause

While some athletes are just out to make a lot of money and live the lavish life, others play for a greater cause. Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls is one of those players. The Chicago Bulls all-star sat with EBONY and spoke about his Dribble to Stop Diabetes initiative, the importance of giving back to your community, and much more.

EBONY: Tell me about the Dribble to Stop Diabetes program.

Carlos Boozer: We’re trying to raise overall awareness – you can go to www.DribbleToStopDiabetes.com for more information. There’s an estimated seven million people that remain undiagnosed, that potentially have diabetes. There are 26 million Americans that have diabetes, and that number grows every 30 seconds. At Dribble to Stop Diabetes we’re trying to raise awareness and let people know that we can help you. Some of the symptoms include: Unusual weight loss or weight gain, fatigue, increased urination (sometimes every hour), blurred vision, and sometimes vomiting. If you have some of those symptoms, you can come to www.DribbleToStopDiabetes.com and take a risk assessment test, which will give information on how close you may be to having diabetes. Our biggest goal is to raise awareness and help those that need help.

EBONY: What drives your passion for this cause?

CB: My grandmother passed away from diabetes and my aunt has a continuous fight with it, now.  For me, this is very close to home, which is why I partnered with the NBA about a year ago to try and raise awareness. We also have some other great partners besides the NBA -- the WNBA, the NBA Developmental League, the A.D.A. (American Diabetes Association), and SANOFI US. I’m very excited about this program and to help those in need.

EBONY: You’ve been very involved in the community since you’ve entered the league. Explain the importance of giving back, as it pertains to you.

CB: I’m one of those people that like to help others, especially if I can. I believe that people should get involved in the things that mean something to them. Diabetes means a great deal to me and my family, as well as sickle cell anemia. I think if any good person could help, they would. I want to leave a legacy of helping those in need.

I was very proud of [Derrick] Rose, Joakim [Noah], and Taj [Gibson] for going over to the South Side of Chicago [for a basketball game that brought together rival gang members] and trying to to people know that we can be at peace and not at war with each other.

EBONY: Speaking of your teammates, you guys fell short of your goals of a championship last season after D. Rose went down. Explain his importance to the team and his state of rehab.

CB: It’s crucial! We feel like we have a team that’s built to be a championship contender when we’re healthy. We feel like we can beat anybody. This season we’re faced with the challenge of not having him and being the underdog on most nights, which we’re not used to. At some point in the second half of the season, we’ll get D-Rose back and I think we’ll go into the playoffs as the NBA’s most dangerous team. If we’re all healthy and clicking, we really like our chances. He’s doing great in his rehab, and kicking butt. We’ve just got to continue holding the fort down until he’s back with us.

I think we’re strong at every position. We’re usually the top one or two teams in defense, each season.  Offensively, without D. Rose, it can be any guy on any given night. Our goal remains the same: we wanna be NBA Champions!

Steve Rivers has contributed to The Source, ESPN Rise and a host of other online publications. Follow him on Twitter: @TheKidSkoob.