He went to Stanford University on a football scholarship.
Booker played tight end in two seasons for the Cardinal, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He played alongside future NFL players like Brad Muster and Ed McCaffrey.
He also served as class president in his senior year, and played a leading role in a student-operated crisis hotline.
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He was threatened by the Bloods street gang
Early in his first term as Newark's mayor, his office received a threat against Booker's life that was deemed credible enough that the police beefed up his personal security detail.
The New York Times reported at the time that a jailhouse informant had given authorities a tip so specific that "they were compelled to act on it."
He undertook a week-long challenge to live off food stamps
A discussion on Twitter with a follower who wrote that "nutrition is not the responsibility of the government," Booker challenged the user to live for a week on New Jersey's food stamp budget, and then picked up the gauntlet himself.
He spent $29.78 on groceries for the week, then discovered very quickly that he had made some mistakes in his selection, not least of all the lack of his two vices: Diet Pepsi and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Booker said he hoped the challenge would bring light to the issue of cutting federal funds to the food stamp program.
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He once rescued a neighbor from a burning building
In 2012, Booker returned home from a television interview to find his neighbor's building on fire.
A member of his security detail tried to stop him, but the then-mayor "just ran into the flames and rescued this young lady."
Newark's fire chief told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that Booker had "executed a professional rescue." He suffered smoke inhalation and second-degree burns to his hand, but was well enough to tweet that he was OK.
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He helped launch an online video-sharing service
Booker was a one-third partner in #waywire, which raised $1.75 million in start-up funding, according to USA Today.
He eventually stepped down from the company's board during his campaign for the New Jersey Senate, and donated his shares in the company to charity, TechCrunch reported.
#waywire was designed to allow users to curate videos from YouTube, Vimeo and other sites as well as Facebook, Twitter and Vine. It was eventually acquired in 2014 by Magnify.com.