Carlos Boozer is leading the NBA’s fight against Diabetes. The star Chicago Bulls power forward is one of the ambassadors of the Dribble to Stop Diabetes campaign. And with projections that paint a serious epidemic in which 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050, awareness of the disease is vitally important. VIBE caught up with Boozer to discuss his involvement in Dribble to Stop Diabetes as well as the upcoming NBA season, Derrick Rose’s comeback from a catastrophic knee injury, and why he will have the last laugh with his critics.—Keith Murphy (murphdogg29)
VIBE: What made you get involved with the Dribble To Stop Diabetes campaign?
Carlos Boozer: My grandmother passed from diabetes, and my aunt has Type 2. So those personal reasons are why I got involved. A year ago we had teamed up to make me the spokesperson for the NBA. I was super excited about being a part of this movement and to bring awareness for those he needed to know more about diabetes.
What is the biggest misconception about diabetes?
People not knowing that they have diabetes. They don’t pay attention to some of the signs. You have to understand the symptoms, which are excessive thirst and appetite, increased urination and fatigue. There are an estimated 7 million people that remain undiagnosed.
You mentioned the issue of people not understanding the symptoms of diabetes. But a big part of that is the fact that many people of color do not go on regular hospital checkups, correct?
You know how we are…we think that if you put Robitussin on it everything is going to be fixed [laughs].
That’s so true…
But seriously, we don’t like to go to the doctor. People of color have to start regularly going to doctor and we have to exercise and eat better. This will help you fight diabetes.
Where can readers go to get information about diabetes awareness?
If you have the signs you should go to Dribbletostopdiabetes.com, NBA.com and get a risk assessment to see how much at risk you are. We can also give you information that can help you.
So let’s switch gears and discuss the upcoming NBA season. With Derrick Rose still rehabbing from a very serious knee injury, there are many sports writers who believe the Chicago Bulls are in for a struggle. What do you think about critics who see a tumble for the Bulls in the eastern conference considering the off-season improvements of such teams as the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets?
We have to face the first half of the season and a little bit more without D. Rose. But we have to accept that challenge. We have a great coach [Tom Thibodeau] who has won a championship as an assistant and we have some talented players on this team. The great thing about our team is we have guys that are hungry to succeed.
But Bulls fans seem to be worried about the bench, which has undergone some drastic changes, as well as Rose being rushed back too soon after his ACL injury.
Well, we are going to have D. Rose’s back. Our biggest thing is to gel, to continue to improve and to win as many games as possible. When we get D. Rose back we will be one of the most dangerous teams, especially in the East. Our defense and rebounding will be there…different guys will step up every night. Our goal is to win the championship.
So you are not worried that Rose may be coming back too soon?
I think D. Rose will come back when he’s ready to come back. He is working his body every day to get his knee healthy. His body is getting stronger. When he’s ready he will be back.
You had an up and down time with the fans last season. Do you take exception to some Bulls followers and sports writers who believe the front office should use the Amnesty Clause and part ways with you after the coming season?
I know some of the fans want me to have 30 points every night. But it doesn’t matter. To me I want to win whether I have 30 points or 2 points. Our team is built differently than it was when I was with the Utah Jazz.
So are you out to silence some of your critics this season?
No…I want a championship. I’ve done everything else…I’ve been an All-Star a few times; I’ve won a gold medal. But the one thing I’m missing is an NBA championship. That’s our whole team goal. I just know that we have a chance to win it.