• Andrew Bogut on the court with the Golden State Warriors in 2013 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Andrew Bogut has revealed he considered calling time on his decorated career after a horror-run of injuries curtailed his craft in the NBA.
By
SBS Sport

6 Jul 2020 - 6:37 PM  UPDATED 6 Jul 2020 - 6:37 PM

The full interview between Andrew Bogut and Lucy Zelic - featuring his future plans, upbringing and love for basketball - will be available this Wednesday, July 8.

Lucy Zelic - 'In conversation with': Andrew Bogut
I’ve always believed that if you’ve been to a sporting press conference or heard one post-match interview - you’ve heard them all. This most certainly isn’t the case for one of Australia’s most prolific basketball icons, Andrew Bogut.

Bogut was the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and went on to play six seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks before a fractured ankle ruled him out of meaningful action until 2013.

In an interview with SBS Sport's Lucy Zelic, the 35-year-old looked back on the "dark days" of his career and the mental battles he faced en route to a Championship-laden stint with the Golden State Warriors.

"I snapped my ankle in 2011-2012 - I got undercut and landed on a guys foot and completely snapped my talus, which is kind of the inner part of the top of the ankle," Bogut told Zelic.

"I was in a boot and then had the surgery, got traded while I was injured - which kind of was a blessing because I got to a team that won a Championship - but I had a micro-fracture surgery, which wasn't reported at the time, and those surgeries aren't very successful for longevity.

"They take a long time to rehab and it was true to itself - it probably took me, two or three years to get to a point where I could deal with how my ankle was.

"So, I got to Golden State and was meticulous with my rehab, spending hours every morning before the training sessions.

"I wasn't training for that season, I got traded there and then missed the first half of that following season and it just wouldn't get better.

"No matter what I did - cold tub of ice, physio, proprioception, strengthening, staying off it; it got to a point where I literally would get home from rehab and put my foot in the air because I'm like, 'I need to rest it so I can be even better for rehab tomorrow'.

"This was three months, four months, five months, six months, seven months and as soon as I got to any point where I was like alright, 'let's try to do a little bit of impact on the court', it would swell up like a balloon.

"Then I'd be back to square one with the rehab, ticking all those boxes just to get back to an on-court workout and it got to a point where I got frustrated and said, 'look, stuff it, I am just going to play on it'.

"(Using) a lot of painkillers, we got to a playoff series that year.

"Then, I spent another whole off-season rehabbing it and it was finally at a point where it was feasible to get out there.

"But, during that process, I got to a point where I was like, 'why the hell am I doing this? I'm doing everything right. What more can I do?'

"This thing just kept swelling and swelling and swelling and I was at a crossroads, I think it was like year nine or year 10.

"I was like, 'look, I've hit 10 years, I've maxed-out my pension in the NBA [laughs], I've made a lot of money and done pretty well and I can just put my feet up'.

"But something just told me, 'mate, you've still got more left in the tank'.

"Thankfully I did because [I] went on to be part of a Championship team and had some successful runs internationally, finishing fourth twice and all that kind of stuff, so it worked out very, very well but there were some dark times there for sure."

The Boomers big man has since parted ways with the Sydney Kings after the coronavirus outbreak cancelled the remaining games of the 2019-20 NBL Grand Final series, though he hasn't ruled out a return in the near future.

"I honestly didn't want to sign anywhere because I don't know what's going on with COVID, I don't know if the NBL season is going to start on time, I don't know if the NBA season is going to start on time," he said.

"There's rumours now that even the Olympics next year, there's a slight chance they might not go ahead, so who knows?

"I just wanted to actually wait till the New Year and I potentially could re-sign with the Sydney Kings - that's definitely a possibility.

"It's a possibility to maybe go over to the NBA and play a couple of months and have that as a primer for the Olympics - there's plenty of options.

"I just thought signing with someone now, committing now and then putting my body through training and doing a pre-season, then that league where I've signed pulls the plug and then I've put miles in my body, which right now I can't afford to do - it's just not something I wanted to do."