In­side the pur­pose-built bas­ket­ball head­quar­ters for the Syd­ney Kings’ star new re­cruit

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

From the out­side, it looks like an aban­doned ware­house in a subur­ban in­dus­trial es­tate. The only hint of what’s in­side is a fad­ing An­drew Bogut bas­ket­ball sign. But take one step in­side Bogut’s pri­vate court and gym in the Mel­bourne sub­urb of Car­rum Downs, 48km south­east of the MCG, and you’ll dis­cover hoops heaven.

Four rings, box­ing bags, weights and a re­cov­ery room pro­vide Bogut with the per­fect venue to pre­pare for his NBL cam­paign with the Syd­ney Kings.

“I’m a rou­tine guy and some­times it’s hard to get all your train­ing, re­hab and re­cov­ery done in the one place,” Bogut told The Sun­day Tele­graph.

“Some­times you’re on a wait­ing list and you have to drive to dif­fer­ent places. So I thought, ‘You know what? I’ve got the money to buy a ware­house’.

“I bought this and it was just four walls and it has slowly trans­formed. It has been a two to three year process from start to fin­ish.”

The fa­cil­ity, built dur­ing Bogut’s rookie NBA sea­son with the Mil­wau­kee Bucks in 2005, is also a sanc­tu­ary of in­spi­ra­tion for the veteran big man.

Spread out on the walls in chrono­log­i­cal or­der are his sin­glets from un­der 12s through to his cham­pi­onship-win­ning sea­son with Golden State in 2015.

“I wanted my jour­ney to be shown to kids when they come in here,” he said.

“A lot of the kids see the lo­cal Vic­to­rian sin­glets and it cre­ates a bond. That is kind of why I did it.

“I’m not a big tro­phy guy. I’ve got a shit­load of tro­phies but I couldn’t tell you where they all are. But I’ve al­ways col­lected ev­ery jersey I’ve worn since I was a lit­tle kid.”

From re­gional Vic­to­ria to the bright lights of the NBA and now an NBL home­com­ing, Bogut’s bas­ket­ball ca­reer has come full cir­cle.

He can’t wait to de­but for the Kings in a re­ju­ve­nated do­mes­tic league but con­cedes he wasn’t al­ways en­thused about re­turn­ing home to the NBL.

“It was a bor­der­line bush league at times and not some­thing I was com­fort­able putting my name next to,” he said.

“But now I’m com­fort­able there are enough good busi­ness peo­ple run­ning clubs and Larry Kestel­man is do­ing things right as boss.

“The NBL has put them­selves in a po­si­tion thanks to Larry and all the peo­ple in­volved — this wasn’t pos­si­ble three or four years ago.

“Not just from a fi­nan­cial com­po­nent but just from the way the league was run.

“The league is go­ing in an up­wards di­rec­tion, so that is an­other rea­son I thought it was the right time to come home.”

Bogut has vowed to do what­ever it takes to pro­mote the Kings and Aus­tralian bas­ket­ball with his trade­mark hon­esty and wit.

“Peo­ple ei­ther love or hate me and that’s fine,” Bogut said. “I en­joy the ban­ter.

“The Syd­ney Kings an­nounce­ment has cre­ated so much buzz.

“I know a lot of things po­lit­i­cally about my state of Vic­to­ria and Aus­tralia and I’m happy to put my two cents out there.

“I’ll re­ceive crit­i­cism for it, but that is fine.

“There will be peo­ple fol­low­ing this with a pos­i­tive mind­set of how good it is and oth­ers that will want it to fail, but that is a good thing be­cause ei­ther way it is bring­ing at­ten­tion to the game.” Bogut will fea­ture in a book on the his­tory of Aus­tralians in the NBA and WNBA, Hoop Dreams Down Un­der, set to hit the stands next July.

An­drew Bogut re­laxes at his pri­vate train­ing fa­cil­ity in Mel­bourne. Pic­tures: Jake Nowakowski, Matt Logue

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