For three-time Olympian Andrew Bogut, the year he had planned originally didn't see him taking an extended break but it's one he’s been appreciating
Speaking with Australia’s SBS last week, the Australian national men’s team stalwart had been playing basketball for 19 months straight before COVID-19 put things on hold.
“It's been an interesting year,” Bogut said.
Playing for the Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League (NBL), Bogut and his teammates were in the middle of a best-of-five Grand Final series against the Perth Wildcats. The latter were leading 2-1 when the remaining games were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wildcats were awarded the NBL title.
As the pandemic had cast things into doubt, the 2015 NBA Championship winner made the decision not to re-sign with the Kings…well for now anyway. There is a possibility that Bogut could play in the NBL next year or maybe go over to the NBA to prime himself for Tokyo 2020, which could be his swan song.
“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,” he said.
“I just thought signing with someone now, committing now and then putting my body through training and a pre-season, then that league… 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.
“It was just one of those things where the best decision is to stay where we're based and just wait this thing out and, once there's some concrete decisions, wrap my brain around it.”
It’s been a whirlwind two years for Bogut: From playing NBL to joining the Golden State Warriors in the United States for the NBA season then heading to a FIBA World Cup with Australia, where they qualified for Tokyo 2020 after a fourth place finish - their best to date - before returning to the NBL.
“I didn't get much rest; I had some injuries that I played through so the body was definitely raring for some rest,” he said.
After 15 years in professional basketball, Bogut appeared to have been close on deciding about his retirement earlier this year. However, his original plan to retire after the Games were put on hold when the Olympics was delayed until July 2021.
While Bogut admits he “hasn’t done anything since the season ended” and his “fitness is at an all-time low”, the 35-year-old is hoping to start again soon and see where things go from there.
“As I've said on record, I'll wait until the end of the year till hopefully this all passes and then figure out if I'll have my one last dance.”