Bob Boozer, a member of the Bucks 1971 NBA Championship team, died of a brain aneurysm on the afternoon of May 19 while at an Omaha, Neb. hospital. He was 75 years old.
Boozer was an 11-year NBA veteran who finished his career in 1971 with the Bucks as the team's sixth man. The 6-foot-8 forward started his rookie season in l960 for the Cincinnati Royals.
One of his teammates was fellow rookie and Bucks great Oscar Robertson. Both men were fresh off a gold medal with the 1960 Olympic basketball team when they started their NBA careers.
"Bob Boozer was a true pro," Robertson reflected. "I played with him both in Cincinnati in 1961 and in Milwaukee. Bob played with me his first year in the NBA and his final year, and we both played in the Olympics together in 1960. He was a very good teammate in every way, and a good person to be around."
In addition to his time in Cincinnati (1960-64) and Milwaukee (1970-71), Boozer played for the New York Knicks (1963-65), Los Angeles Lakers (1965-66), Chicago Bulls (1966-69) and Seattle SuperSonics (1969-70). Boozer was selected to be an NBA All-Star in 1968.
"[Bob] was a true sixth man, a key part to our 1971 Bucks NBA Championship," Robertson continued. "He was the first forward off the bench, at 6-8, really our tallest forward. He brought experience to our team that year, having played in the NBA for 10 years in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle before joining the Bucks.
"I had spoken to him just a few days ago, and was shocked when I received the news of his death."
His final year in Milwaukee, Boozer averaged 9.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while playing 22.2 minutes per game over 80 games (five starts).
In the playoffs, he averaged 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, playing 20.2 minutes per game over all 14 postseason contests. For his career, Boozer averaged 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 29.2 minutes of play.
Boozer played three years of basketball at Kansas State University and was an Associated Press All-American for the Wildcats in 1958 (second team) and 1959 (first team). Cincinnati selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 1959 NBA Draft, but Boozer postponed his professional career in order to maintain the amateur status that was required to play in the Olympics.
He and the other members of the 1960 gold medal-winning Olympic team were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2010. Boozer was born on April 26, 1937 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and moved to Omaha, Neb. with his family in the late 1940s. He continued to reside there after he retired from the NBA.
Boozer is survived by his wife, Ella. Funeral arrangements are pending.