Image via Deathofthepressbox
Dandenong's favourite son, Andrew Bogut has returned back to the place he calls home. A key figure in toppling LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to bring home the 2015 NBA Championship title, we managed to catch five with the big man to find out a little more about how a gentle giant from one of Australia's roughest neighbourhoods found himself as a household name in the world of basketball.
What was it like growing up in Dandenong? Do you think those tough streets shaped you into the defensive animal you are today?
Growing up in Dandy, you have got to be street smart – just walking home from school you have got to have a certain toughness about you. Growing up I got in my fair share of scuffles in primary school and high school. It’s a working class suburb so you need to know how to handle your own from a young age – if you are soft and scared, it will take advantage of you!
Are you a bit of a sneaker freak?
Nah mate, I’m more of a car freak! I wish I was more of a sneakerhead, but my current habit is a little bit more expensive. As long as I got a clean pair of shoes, I’m happy!
We hear you have a nice collection of whips – how many of them have spinners?
We take it a fresh pair of wheels landed the minute the siren sounded on Game 6?
Not quiet the minute, but not long after. It was actually an Australian car – it was an XW GT Ford Falcon.
Image via Modified Car Forums
STREWTH! On'ya mate, straya!
Yeh – it’s a nice car!
Enough about engines though, let’s talk basketball – I gotta be that guy and ask but what is it like playing with Stephen Curry?
Playing with on the daily, sometimes you become a bit desensitised to it. Often he knocks down those shots that nobody has business knocking down. He takes those shots where you’re like, 'No. No. Nooo. YES!' He is a coach's worst nightmare and a best dream at the same time.
What about old mate Delly – You and him, head to head, mano a mano, Victorian vs. Victorian, David vs. Goliath. Qwhat’s the low down? You still boys?
We actually caught up for dinner during the regular season and half-heartedly joked, 'I’ll see you in the finals.'
Spooky – do go on!
Once the final series started, game faces were on. We said hello before Game 1, and that was about it. I won’t ever disrespect my team mates, so we kept it professional.
Respect for the sportsmanship! He had a very lively series though, he showed those American fellas how we play basketball Down Under! Your Golden State team mates didn’t seem to appreciate his tenacious hustle as much we do – what were the vibes there?
I saw him as playing hard – how we were taught to play growing up. Some of the stuff may have been questionable, but that’s finals basketball. Guys on my team, though, they weren’t too impressed. If you ask anyone about Delly, you’re going to get ten different opinions. He’s a small guy so he needs to be physical, if he sees a loose ball he will dive on it without thinking of the repercussions.
The homie Sekure D cooked up these special welcome home '2015 Champions' Air Force 1 customs for Mr. Bogut. Unfortunately getting your hands on a size US18 in the Southern Hemisphere is no easy task, so these gems went straight to Bogut's pool room.
Your own role took some interesting twists thoughout the course of the Finals, seeing you sit out some of the defining games. Was that hard to stomach, or are you really just that much of a team player?
It was tough not playing the last two games, but every series was different for me. I played my role and did what was needed of me to get our team over the line. I'll definitely take a championship ring facing a little adversity along the way.
Tell us about Vegas – word on the street is David Lee piled everyone on his plane for some, ‘R & R’?
Nah, nothing too bad happened, we had our GSW security team with us the whole time, ownership made sure of that. We just enjoyed ourselves, nothing too reckless, let’s just say not much sleep was had.
Say no more!
The Championship parade back in Oakland was insane, though!
Vegas insane? Or just regular fanfare insane?
1.2 million turned out, it was crazy! We had two players each on open air buses driving down the streets, every corner we turned there was people filling the streets, people hanging out five storey windows, kids in trees and up light posts – it was unbelievable.
An Olympic Gold medal though, that would be unbelievable! How are you feeling about the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, with the inclusion of fellow Victorians Dante Exum and young blood Ben Simmons, the Australian Boomers show some really strong promise...
I’m excited, it’s always electric. For me the Olympics is the pinnacle of international basketball. You have the World Champs, but the Olympics is a whole different feel, there are only twelve spots available, so you know you're competing with the top tier that the world has to offer. It was always my dream when I was young! Australian basketball is in a really good spot, and the prospect of having eight NBA players on the one Australian national roster is something almost unheard of, which excites me even more.