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Ex-NBAer Bogut retires from competitive hoops

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Published in Basketball
Monday, 30 November 2020 16:27

Andrew Bogut has announced his retirement from professional basketball.

Widely regarded as one the greatest and most successful players in Australian basketball history, Bogut made the announcement on his Rogues Bogues podcast on Tuesday morning, choosing to put an end to a professional career that spanned 15 years.

It was thought that Bogut, 36, would end his basketball career after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but the Sydney Kings center has decided to call time early.

Bogut mentioned a series of injuries he had to overcome over the off-season, including getting his ankle "cleaned out", as well as being forced to get surgery to relieve a sciatica in his back.

"The decision hasn't been an easy one, but I think it is the right decision," Bogut said. "The decision that I made and where I will be signing for next season is absolutely nowhere. I will be retiring from professional basketball, effective immediately.

"We are in late November now. I would have made this decision earlier if it wasn't for the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. I was hoping to get to the 2020 Olympics and call it the day after that as it would have been a great accolade to get a fourth Olympics, but it's just not meant to be."

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Bogut suited up for five different teams - the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers - winning one NBA Championship, being named to the All-Rookie First Team (2006), an All-NBA Third Team (2010), an All-Defensive Second Team (2015), while finishing a season as the leader in blocked shots (2011).

After an injury-riddled career in the NBA, the native of Victoria chose to end his career in Australia's NBL, signing with the Sydney Kings in 2018; going on to win the league's MVP award in his first season with the team.

During his final season with the Kings, Bogut averaged 8.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game, as the Will Weaver-led team chose to withdraw from the 2020 NBL Grand Final due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I can't physically and mentally get to 2021 with the way my body has been," Bogut said.

"I could get there with a lot of painkillers and mental anguish but it's just not worth it.

"I'm really starting to value my health away from the court and my health when I'm 40, 45, and 50. Some people might say it's only six months of training but I'm at a point where I just can't do it."

Over 14 years in the NBA, Bogut finished with career averages of 9.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.

During his time in the NBA, NBL, and with the Australian senior national team, Bogut made a name for himself as one of the best passing big-men in the history of the sport, while also demonstrating himself to be an elite rim protector.

Bogut shot to international stardom at the 2003 FIBA under-19 World Championship, where he led Australia to a gold medal, while walking away with the tournament's most valuable player award. That would lead into a two-year stint at the University of Utah, where, as a sophomore, Bogut was named the Naismith College Player of the Year. His No. 4 jersey was retired by Utah in 2006.

In 2005, Bogut became the first of what's now three Australians to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in an NBA Draft, joining the Bucks. In 2012, Bogut was traded to the Warriors, where he would win an NBA Championship, playing a key role for Stephen Curry's team en route to the 2015 title.

The 7-footer had short stints in Dallas, Cleveland, and with the Los Angeles Lakers, before returning to Australia to be with his wife, who was undergoing a high-risk pregnancy.

Bogut's NBA career had unfortunately been riddled with freak injuries, with the most recent serious diagnosis being a fractured tibia, in early 2017.

During his first season in the NBL, Bogut appeared in every game for the Kings, but he admitted that his health diminished over time.

"I'm not going to lie; the last two years have been a real challenge for me just to get out of bed in the mornings, let alone going to a training session or a game," Bogut said.

"The body from 2018 onwards was hanging by a thread.

"In the 2019-20 season, that thread was completely frayed and in little pieces. It was beyond hanging by a thread. It was really frustrating for me, but this off-season I've been able to get up in the mornings and walk pain free."

Bogut currently lives in Melbourne, and has been based in his hometown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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