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