Carlos Boozer speaks to reporters at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 8, 2022. Boozer was honored during the third quarter of the Jazz game. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — It was story time for Carlos Boozer on Friday.
Boozer, who was honored during the third quarter of Utah’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, spoke with the local media for nearly 20 minutes ahead of the game.
He told the story of being recruited by Quin Snyder and of his first meeting with Jerry Sloan; he talked about Jordan Clarkson’s rookie season and the game in Seattle where he recorded what is still the most recent triple-double by a Jazz player.
And he told the tale of the time Prince — yes, that Prince — rented his home in Los Angeles.
Ahead of his first season with the Utah Jazz, Boozer purchased an 18,000-square-foot mansion in Bel-Air. He had just put the finishing touches on it — he transformed the rooftop tennis court into a basketball court and fully decorated the home — about three or four days before it was time to head to Utah for training camp.
He was back in Utah when his realtor gave him a call and told him someone was interested in renting the home.
“I’m like, ‘No, I didn’t even spend no time in my house.'” Boozer remembered.
Then he heard the number the mystery person was willing to spend. And, well, his mind quickly changed.
“She told him he’s willing to pay $95,000 a month, and I was like oh …” Boozer said.
So he flew back to Los Angeles to meet with the prospective renter. Boozer didn’t know who was so eager to rent his home until a limo pulled up to the house and Prince stepped out. Boozer gave a tour of the mansion, showing him all the details and intricacies. When Prince saw the basketball court, the talk quickly turned to the NBA and Kevin Garnett, who was then playing for the late musicians hometown Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We had conversations about KG and he rented the crib, so that was all good,” Boozer said. “And I come back here.”
That season, Boozer had ongoing hamstring issues and reached out to a physical therapist in Los Angeles. He figured since he was in town he’d stop by the home to see how everything was going.
“I kept calling Prince and telling him, ‘I’m gonna stop by the house, if you need something let me know’ but he wouldn’t return my call,” Boozer said.
So after the failed attempts to contact him, he pulled up to see what was going on — he had trouble finding it. He had used the large golden lion positioned on his outside gate as a way of knowing which house was his, but they weren’t there.
“So I drive back down the street and come back up,” Boozer said. “It was a symbol that I’ve never seen before. ‘What the (heck) is this?’ So I put my code into the gate and it opened up.”
That was just the beginning.
“I get upstairs and he literally had ripped out every single thing in my house — 18,000-square feet he put into a storage facility,” Boozer said.
Prince had made his home an ocean of purple and black — the carpets were purple and black, the beds were purple and black, everything was purple and black.
“He turned the weight room into a nightclub with a disco ball, which I thought was pretty cool,” Boozer said. “He had a massage parlor in one room. He transformed the entire house to look like his.”
Understandably, the still relatively young Boozer was freaking out a bit. He had never rented a home out before, and now a global superstar had completely changed everything.
“So I’m calling him and calling him — at least the number that I thought was his,” Boozer said. “I’m thinking, ‘Did he change his number to me?’ It was like an ex-girlfriend going on right now.”
It turns out, Prince was in Asia on tour.
“He’s like, ‘Booze, don’t worry; I got you.'” Boozer said. “He wired me $500 grand to ease my mind and he’s like, ‘When I move out, it’ll be like I was never there.'”
So to recap: Prince rents Boozer’s house, puts everything into storage, redesigns everything and then sends him $500,000 to ease his mind.
And then Prince kept his promise.
“When I got there at the end of his lease, it was like he was never there,” Boozer said. “That’s how much Prince had.”
Ryan Miller has covered the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.