Carlos Boozer finally explains his infamous 'shoe polish-hair' incident

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In the relatively tame world of nationally-broadcast NBA games on ABC, this one stood out. Carlos Boozer, then a Chicago Bull, showed up to his team’s game against the Boston Celtics on a Sunday afternoon with hair that …

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… well, you remember:

No, 'Los. No. (Courtesy 30fps-mocksession-com)
No, 'Los. No. (Courtesy 30fps-mocksession-com)

It was clearly painted on. Not that there’s anything abhorrent or wrong about that, everyone gets to do their own thing, but the distance between the Boozer that we saw two nights before in Charlotte and the one we tuned into on Sunday afternoon was a little jarring.

On Tuesday, because that’s what you talk about on the first night of the NBA’s regular season, Boozer went on ESPN’s Dan LeBatard Show to discuss, exactly, what went down (skip to the 3:10 mark for the best bits):

Here’s the transcription, via Mark Hinog at SB Nation:

Dan Le Batard: "What was going on with your hair that day?"

Boozer: "Oh man. Man, listen, so ... truth be told, as you can tell, I started losing my hair a little bit..."

Bomani: "I know the struggle. I'm with you."

Boozer: "...they came out with this -- it's like a hair dye, whatever, for men called the 'bigen.' Well, I had one guy that was like, 'Yo, have you ever thought about growing your hair out?' And I was like, yeah, I was thinking about it, until I saw some of these little bald spots on my head. So, I was like, you know, I just cut my hair off. And so he was telling me that he could -- you know, 'grow your hair out, I could cover it up a little bit, and make it look like you got a regular haircut.' So I tried it, and he just made myself look like shoe polish up there ... this is like five years later, and I'm still hearing about it."

Bomani: "Oh yeah! You're gonna hear about it till the end!"

Boozer: "I still get this!"

Bomani: "We've been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to work it in!

Bomani: "You know, we didn't want to hurt your feelings! But, you know, it was a thing!"

It certainly was a thing. In a lockout-addled season short of levity, Boozer’s struggle was a much-needed release.

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Boozer went on to relay that his teammates and opponents Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce clowned him for what seemed like his insistence on taking a magic marker to his head. He also claimed that the decision was exacerbated by the fact that he had a good game in Chicago’s four-point loss to Boston, putting up a 20-20 game with the cameras following his forehead’s every move. He’s half right in that one: Boozer managed 22 points, but just seven rebounds.

Carlos Boozer is still currently a free agent, and for years he’s been regarded as one of the NBA’s bigger punchlines. It’s good to see that the man has a sense of humor about the entire incident.

(Even if he didn’t get 20 rebounds.)

(Even if the Bulls lost.)

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!