Athlete. Today in western Omaha is situated an interesting junction of history. The main line of the Union Pacific Railroad’s push west across America intersected Pacific Street. Years later another street crossed Pacific, Bob Boozer Drive, appropriately bearing the name of one of the finest basketball players in our nation’s history. Graduating from Omaha Technical High School in 1955 and an all-state caliber player at any early age, he starred at Kansas State and on into the professional ranks. The only Nebraska high school basketball player to ever achieve All-American status at the top college level, he then played for nearly a dozen years in professional basketball, averaging over twenty points a game in his best years. K-State honored him as the leading vote-getter on its 10-man Team of the Century. “We were No. 1 in the nation for part of my junior year. We made it to the Final Four. We were undefeated in the Big Eight,” he said. As one who believed in hard work and practice, he covets many well-deserved honors, especially the gold medal earned while a member of the 1960 American Olympic basketball team. Later, in his post-basketball life in hometown Omaha, he completed an Olympic torch run through Omaha by lighting a cauldron that was part of a downtown ceremony. “It was a great experience and brought back memories of 1960 in Rome,” he said. He was the first player picked in the 1959 NBA draft and played 11 years in the NBA with Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New York and Los Angeles He was an NBA All-Star in 1968 and on an NBA basketball champion in 1971.
Boozer spent 27 years working at Northwestern Bell, which became U.S. West. The last 10 of those years were as a federal lobbyist. He retired in 1997 and soon after was selected to serve on the Nebraska Board of Parole.
Former Kansas State All-American Bob Boozer, of Omaha, Neb., a member of the United States’ 1960 gold medal basketball team at the Rome Olympics, held the Olympic torch on Thursday, Jan. 10, after lighting a cauldron in downtown Omaha to wrap up the flame’s visit to Nebraska.