Andrew Bogut: NBA Culture on the Skids

The Sydney Morning Herald's David Sygall quotes the former top overall pick on life in the NBA. It's not pretty. One of the more memorable passages:

"The public's got it right, a lot of NBA stars are arrogant and like to spend lots of money and have lots of girlfriends and all that."

"The smarter guys don't do that. They like to live a regular life and want to retire and be set up. About 80 per cent of them go broke by the time they retire or come close to it."

"If you want to keep living that lifestyle when you're 40, but the millions have stopped coming in, you suddenly find your friends are gone and you've got nothing. It's a tough situation for some of those guys, especially the ones who come from the ghettos or tough upbringings."

"The funny thing is that we have compulsory tutoring each week where they teach you to manage your money and they tell you about all the things that can happen to you, people trying to take advantage of you, but it's amazing how many of the guys totally ignore it."

"I guess if you're a normal person and all of a sudden you're getting $10 million a year, it can go to your head. But I really think it's just the culture over there. I would never want my child to be brought up in an environment like that, where if you have money, you're supposed to flaunt it and make everyone jealous. The American attitude is 'We're the best'. That's why the NBA guys who come from other countries, the Europeans, all sort of stick together away from the game."

Even if it's the gospel truth, I'm thinking this interview will get him dunked on and/or fouled a couple of extra times next season.

I also have three thoughts:

  • I always appreciate honestly. Takes guts to be frank.

  • There are plenty of very seriously good characters in the NBA. If Bogut can find those guys and hang out with them, what's it to him if many players behave in a way Bogut doesn't like in their free time? And if he can't find those good guys, why not?

  • When people complain, I always kind of feel like asking: well, what are you going to do about it? He's a former top overall pick. He's an up-and-comer. And he's pretty big. Can't he influence the culture on his team?