Australian Boomers centre Andrew Bogut desperately wants to win an Olympic medal but he equally wants to preserve his body so he can play with his kids once basketball is over.
Whether achieving both those goals is possible is what the 35-year-old is pondering as he spends time with his family during the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew Bogut in action for the Kings.Credit:Getty Images
Bogut's plan was to play out the NBL season, build up his body for the Tokyo Olympics and with a talented Boomers side win the nation's first medal in men's basketball.
It was highly likely Bogut would have retired whatever happened in Tokyo but like so many athletes, four years of planning went out the window when the pandemic forced organisers to push back the Olympics to 2021.
For basketballers that adds to a raft of uncertainties considering the NBA is still shutdown and uncertain of when it will resume and whether a late end to the season could force the next to start later.
Bogut has spent the past two seasons with the Sydney Kings in the NBL and the local league has also seen its planning on hold pending what happens with the NBA and the new dates for the Olympics.
So Bogut's future, like so many of us, is undecided until the pandemic ends and those competitions sort out their calendars.
"It's in limbo because I don't know what to plan for," Bogut said.
"When will the Olympics be? All we know is it will be 2021, will it be in August? Or earlier? Or later? It's all up in the air until doors are open and we can restart normal life.
"The plan was to get to the Olympics then re-assess with percentages favoured towards giving it up.
"There are a lot bigger issues in the world for a lot of people but this is my little bubble issue of where to next."
There are a lot bigger issues in the world for a lot of people but this is my little bubble issue of where to next.
What further clouds Bogut's future is his body, which has withstood several severe injuries over 15 years of professional basketball.
Last NBL season Bogut played all 28 games and then spent the back-end of the NBA season with the Golden State Warriors and played in the FIBA World Cup where the Boomers again fell to a painful fourth place finish.
But this NBL season Bogut was constantly battling his body to get on court with back and other ailments wearing him down physically and mentally.
"Once I'm on the court and moving up and down you don't feel it as much but there was some games where I was playing at 50 per cent," Bogut said.
"But it's the day to day of managing a load of training that a professional athlete has plus the travel and the hotels – that is the hard part, as that life is not conducive to a seven-footer – then you top it off being 35 going on 36.
"Doing your rehab every day and coming to training one-and-a-half or two hours early just to be able to get warm and train, those are the things people don't see.
"This season it was glaring, on a good day I was 70 per cent and that has a mental aspect to it as you are treading water the whole time."
Some of Bogut's worst times last season came when arriving home from training and not being able to play with his two pre-school aged kids.
"If I come home and can't play with my kids because I need to lay down on my back so it doesn't get worse for the next day's game – that's where I was asking if it's still worth it," Bogut said.
What also has Bogut thinking is his time spent with three-time NBA championship winner Luc Longley, who is a consultant with the Kings but also facing post-career problems from his injuries with a serious ankle injury ending his NBA career in the early 2000s.
"When Luc flies in and you see him walk around, it's not a pretty picture," Bogut said.
"He's got a really bad ankle that he will need surgery on pretty soon. His words were that he probably played a year or two too much and now he is paying for it.
"That makes you say, 'Oh shit', it weighs on you, but as a hard-headed athlete you say to yourself, 'One more year, one more year'.
"The time is now where I have to make the right decision to make sure that when I'm 45 or older I can still get out and about with the kids."
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