Olympics delay leaves Bogut unsure on retirement

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Andrew Bogut is close to making a decision on when to end his career after 15 years in professional basketball. Coronavirus and the subsequent postponement of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo isn’t making it any easier.

The 35-year-old Bogut, a 2005 No 1 draft pick by the Milwaukee Bucks and an NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, was planning to retire after playing for Australia at the Tokyo Games this summer. Those games have been delayed until July 2021.

But Bogut, who has played for Sydney in the National Basketball League (NBL) for the past two seasons, isn’t sure he can take the training and discipline needed to go another year.

Andrew Bogut outmuscles Mason Plumlee and Jayson Tatum at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne
Image: Bogut outmuscles Mason Plumlee and Jayson Tatum at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne

“I am not doing much, I can tell you that,” Bogut told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Offsiders program that aired on Sunday. “To be able to kiss your kids goodnight and put them down every night… I have appreciated doing that.”

Bogut has two boys, Luka, three, and Nikola, two, with his wife Jessica.

“I haven’t done any basketball since the season ended and it feels good waking up, getting out of bed and not feeling like I am walking on glass,” Bogut said. “(My career) all been thrown into a washing machine essentially, but there is a decision to be made probably by mid-May.”

Bogut, who played a key role in Australia’s fourth-place finish at last year’s FIBA World Cup in China, has been on the Australian team’s roster since the 2004 Athens Olympics.

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The Melbourne-born Bogut was named The Associated Press college basketball player of the year in 2005 while playing for Utah, just before being chosen No 1 in the NBA draft by the Bucks.

The World Cup fourth-place finish for Australia came without NBA all-star Ben Simmons, who could play for Australia at Tokyo in 2021. Bogut hopes Simmons is in the squad, but whether Bogut is there to partake in the experience is still up in the air.

Patty Mills high-fives team-mate Andrew Bogut
Image: Patty Mills high-fives team-mate Bogut

“We have been tantalisingly close and the squad we are going to have is arguably going to be the best squad in the history of the Boomers, on paper at least,” Bogut told the ABC program. “To be part of that, selfishly, is something I really want to do, but the body is what it comes down to.

“I can get up for a basketball game any day of the week, but it is hard to get up for five, six days of training a week and lifting weights.”

Bogut has never been one to hold back on his opinions. After his Sydney Kings refused to fly across Australia to play the Perth Wildcats in the fourth game of the five-game NBL finals because of the coronavirus, a series the Kings trailed 2-1, the NBL awarded the title to Perth. Bogut said the players were used like pawns in the process.

He has also had some dust-ups with players and officials on Twitter, including fellow Australian and WNBA star Liz Cambage. But this past week in virus-forced isolation, he was more concerned with the location of his television remote.

Could he be mellowing close to a potential retirement?

“OK, a TV remote has been lost. I have a two-year-old and three-year-old. Turned whole kitchen and lounge room upside down. Any guesses to where else these hoodlums could have placed the remote,” he first tweeted.

Later came the good news.

“Wow. So older brother hid from little brother so he couldn’t change channel,” Bogut tweeted. “Best hiding place: Behind drapes, on window sill in bedroom near lounge room. Black remote upside down, black window sill! 1.5 hours!”

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