Andrew Bogut, a longtime face of Australian men’s basketball, retired rather than pursue a fourth Olympics next summer.
“I would have made this decision earlier if it wasn’t for the postponement of the Olympics,” Bogut, 36, said on his podcast, Rogue Bogues. “I was hoping to get to 2020 Tokyo Games and then calling it a day after that.
“I just can’t physically and mentally get to 2021 with the way the body has been. I mean, I could on a lot of painkillers and a lot of physical and mental anguish, but it’s just not worth it at this point in my career. I’m really starting to value my health away from the court, and my health when I’m 40 and 45 and 50.”
Bogut, who played at his first Olympics in 2004, a year before he was a No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick, said he underwent ankle and back surgeries this year.
Bogut moved back to Australia in 2018 to play in its domestic league, after 13 NBA seasons, in a bid to preserve his body for a final Olympic run.
“The last two years have been a real challenge for me just to get out of bed in the morning some days, let alone go to a training session or a game,” he said. “The body, probably from 2018 on, was hanging by a thread.”
Bogut ranked second on the Australian team in scoring at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He missed the 2012 London Games with an ankle injury, then came back from a bone bruise in his knee to help Australia match its best-ever Olympic finish of fourth in Rio.
Australia is the most accomplished basketball nation yet to earn an Olympic men’s medal. It finished fourth in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2016, going winless in eight games with a medal at stake.
When Bogut played his first Olympics in 2004, Australia had zero NBA players on its roster. In Rio, it had six NBA players.
Australia’s medal hopes in Tokyo may be dependent on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons.
Simmons passed on the Rio Olympics in favor of preparing for the 2016 NBA Draft, where he was the No. 1 overall pick, and the start of his pro career. He originally committed to the 2019 FIBA World Cup but withdrew in favor of again preparing for the NBA season. But in withdrawing he said he would be “honored and humbled” to play at the Olympics.
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