DALLAS -- Andrew Bogut has earned a reputation during his dozen NBA seasons of being one of the NBA's most versatile big men, of pushing the threshold between playing hard and dirty, and of being one of the league's best interviews.
Want to know what the Dallas Mavericks' new starting center is thinking? Just ask the Australian, who isn't shy about addressing any topic. ESPN tested that theory.
Even though it was a trade, the Warriors gave you choices in terms of which team you were going to. What about Dallas made you feel that it was a fit at this point of your career?
Andrew Bogut: I've always liked the city -- first off -- off the court. It's kind of a big city, but it's spread out, just kind of more suited to me. I'm not a huge metropolitan kind of guy, so that fit in. And then the organization, everybody that fits here speaks very highly of the way they treat their players, the things they do for their players. It's no secret that it's my 12th year, so I need any help I can get.
Are you high-maintenance?
A.B.: Am I high-maintenance? I have a routine. I'm not high-maintenance. I mean, simple things, like I don't like cold water. I like room-temp water. I don't think that's high-maintenance. I think high-maintenance is guys that are late all the time and that kind of stuff. That's not me.
Last year in Golden State was an amazing season for a lot of reasons. Here you guys are setting an NBA record, trying to chase a championship, and you're dealing with Kevin Durant rumors the entire season. You're smart enough to know exactly what that means. What was that experience like for you?
A.B.: That's part of the business. I think the deal was done long before the summer. I think it was done -- obviously, K.D. didn't make his concrete decision, but I think our organization knew for a while what was going to happen. That's just a part of it. Andre [Iguodala] and I knew it was one of us that was going to go, and it was me. That's part of the business. I have no gripes about it. You get a Hall of Famer -- he's going to be a Hall of Famer -- in K.D. If I'm the GM, I do the same deal. That's just the reality of the business.
Was it tough for you to focus on the season in front of you, or were you able to shut all that out?
A.B.: No, it is what it is. We had so many distractions off the court that we could have got caught up into. Not just that, [but] every day was something different. We had full-time people from ESPN following us on every trip. We had all kinds of stuff going on. That's just something you've got to block out. It was just, compared to a 7-8-9 seed or a 5-6-7 seed, it was magnified a hundredfold because of the record and everything. So it felt like a lot of times during the season that every game was a Finals game because of the record. I don't know what bearing that had on wearing us out and guys getting hurt toward the playoffs, but it definitely took a bit of a toll.
How different do those Finals turn out if you don't go down with a knee injury?
A.B.: I don't like looking back and talking about that stuff. There's a lot of things that could have went our way in that Finals series that didn't, but on the flip side, we got those bounces a series before and probably shouldn't have been in the Finals. We're down 3-1 and had a couple close plays go our way, and Klay [Thompson] gets hot in that last game [in Oklahoma City]. So it works itself out in the wash.
Obviously, the injury for me was a tough one because there was no way I could bounce back within three or four weeks. If it was a thing where I could have shot it up and played, I would have given it a shot, but the knee was blown up. I couldn't really do much about it. Then on top of that, Draymond [Green] gets suspended, which didn't help either. So it kind of threw our rhythm off. That's why the playoffs and the Finals are a beast. Seven games, and the momentum can shift two or three times during a series. We saw that.
There were questions about whether you were going to be able to play in the Rio Olympics. You got ready and played really well early on. How will you remember that experience?
A.B.: It was a grind for me, man. I didn't think I was going to make it. The prognosis for me the day I did the injury, which was late June, was six to eight weeks. As soon as you do the math, that puts me at the end of August, so I pushed it to try to get back. I made it back, and I think I was playing on adrenaline the first couple of games and just so happy to be out there. I just burned out. I had no body of conditioning behind me. I don't like making excuses like that.
I was there, so if you're there, you're there. But it was tough to get there in the first place. To be able to be there and play was a great honor again -- it was my third Olympics -- but at the same time, I was kind of disappointed because I thought I let the team down toward the end. The last couple of games, I had nothing, nothing left in the tank and didn't help us at all. So that was pretty frustrating.
Is that what will stick with you or more the pride of representing the country and overcoming odds to make it there in the first place?
A.B.: A mix of both. Look, we've never medaled in an Olympics, even a bronze. We were so close. The Serbia game was the one I was really disappointed in. We just got absolutely annihilated. The Spain game, FIBA had its say in that one. I'm still a firm believer in that. You look at the game tape and see their last four points are free throws, and they weren't fouls. That was probably the most disappointing thing, but you can't cry over spilled milk. We've got to move on from it, but [it was] just disappointing that we were so close to getting a medal and lost the bronze-medal game by one point.
You mention the FIBA stuff. The NBA -- and I think Mark Cuban has had a lot to do with it -- has shifted toward transparency in officiating. Do you think officiating has improved because of that?
A.B.: Yeah, I think it's scrutinized more. The referees have one of the toughest jobs in the world. You have world-class athletes that are strong, quick. You've got to deal with so many different things happening in a game, and there's only three of them out there and 10 of us, so there's a lot of things going on. But at the same time, they're held accountable. The only thing you could probably say as a player is: Should the referees be held accountable the same ways as the players are? That's probably the next step, publicly.
What are your feelings on national anthem protests and the discussion Colin Kaepernick has launched in this country?
A.B.: Look, I think it's a touchy one because I'm proud to see my national anthem in Australia, but I think Australia and America are built on freedom of speech. I don't have a problem with the way he's gone about it, just in the fact that it's a nonviolent protest. I think it's brought up a discussion. What I have issue with are violent protests, people in downtown Charlotte, Milwaukee, Ferguson just destroying s--- and throwing things through windows. Those people have nothing to do with what's going on a lot of the times, and businesses are getting destroyed, people losing their children, people are dying. I don't agree with that.
If Colin Kaepernick is going to get criticized for the kind of protest that's nonviolent, it's tough, and everybody has their opinion about it, but I think it's the right way to go about it, comparing it to those violent protests. For me, the American anthem, I stand and respect it. I'm not an American, but I'm not going to lie: America has given a lot to me as a person and as an individual. I'm playing in the best league in the world and make probably more money than anybody should make for playing the game of basketball, so I respect what America has given to my life and my family. I know a lot of guys in the locker room that feel that way because of the issues with police profiling and all that stuff.
I think it's good that the topic is out there, but it's a hard thing to change. There's so many nuances and so many things that can go on. We know the media only likes to report one side of it too, so you only see the bad and the horror and the torment that goes on. A lot of times, you don't see the good things police officers do or the good things that African-Americans or Hispanics or even whites in poor areas do. Nobody ever reports on that. Everyone always reports on the bad, so I think we get inundated with all that s---.
When you retire, will you move back to Australia full-time or stay in America?
A.B.: I'm not sure. I mean, I'll probably spend some time in Australia down on the track. My family and friends are all there, grew up there, but I haven't lived there for 15 years now. America is my home now. I'm enjoying it. Dallas, I've only been here for a little while, but I've enjoyed it so far. I haven't put my finger on where I'm going to base myself yet. I still hopefully can squeeze out a few more years in the league and cross that bridge when we get to it.
What is your mindset regarding your NBA future entering a contract year?
A.B.: I'm not really too stressed about it. It will play itself out. I've never been a free agent in my career. I've always signed an extension the year before I become a free agent, so it's kind of a new path and a new journey that I haven't really experienced. I'm not really too stressed about it. I think winning the championship and [earning] some personal, individual accolades early in my career in Milwaukee, I'm just happy to be here. With the injuries that I've had, to be in my 12th year is a blessing, but at the same time, I haven't really left anything on the table yet. I'll hopefully squeeze out three or four more years. That would be ideal for me, and then figure out what life after basketball looks like for me.
Would you like to play in another Olympics?
A.B.: That's a long way away for me. Look, if I'm running around and still healthy -- that's the big thing for me -- I'd consider it. But in 2020, I'll be pretty old by then. I'll be 35, 36 years old by then. I'd like to, of course, but the national team's dream is starting to dwindle as the days go by.