I'm sure a lot of you have seen this video already, from last week, of Andrew Bogut hi-fiving the air around him after hitting a free throw (video hat tip to Brew Hoop):
This video received much love around the blogsphere. Let's see - 5 comments on the Ballhype entry for this video, plus 27 links from other blogs (I guess I make 28). Here's how some other people saw it:
The last comment: "The Team Chemistry is sorely lacking. Give your boy a finsky on thew foul line. It is a man law! :-)" seems to place the blame for the poor team chemistry on Bogut's teammates. I, too, saw this as a sign of poor team chemistry.
Most of the video link post entries also seem to portray Bogut as a victim of his teammates - our friends over at Hardwood Paraxysm (a great site that we are big fans of, FYI) felt bad for Bogut, calling it "one of the saddest things we've ever seen" in a post entitled "Aw, Andy! We'll Be Friends With You!"
Chris Mottram seemed to think it was funny. With Leather noted that "Andrew Bogut is Lonely". And that's seems to sum up most of the posts we saw on this topic: either pity or sympathy for the "lonely" Andrew Bogut, whose teammates don't want to be friends with him.
I saw it a bit differently. Only Tom Ziller (have we mentioned that TZ has become our #2 favorite hoops blogger, after Shoals? Unless, of course, Billups makes a comeback), as far as I know, saw it in a similar way - that Bogut might not be too well liked by his teammates or the majority of the league, in fact, for some of the things he said in an interview last summer.
Here's some of the more inflammatory comments that Bogut said to the Syndey Morning Herald in that interview:
"The public's image of NBA players is true. A lot of them get caught up in the hype and do video clips with rappers and all that crap. They want bling bling all over themselves and drive fast cars. But that's just the way the culture is in America - if you've got it flaunt it and if you don't, you can't."And gross generalizations like that are how you end up with no one to high five you at the free throw line. Seriously, all that little episode conveyed to me is that:
"I'm not into jewellery. I've got some earrings but they're not too expensive. There are guys who drop a hundred grand for a chain. 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."
1) Andrew Bogut hasn't peaced that beef yet - his teammates don't seem to care much for him (but, again, I'll watch the game from yesterday, and try to get a better feel for how they interact with him).
2) That Bogut is a douchebag. Because that stunt was not primarily about being funny; it was about being funny at his teammate's expense. Making them look bad, because they didn't support him. If he felt isolated, or abandoned, by his squad... there are much better ways to "confront" your teammates than to make a public display of it.
Bogut just doesn't get it. He doesn't want to, either. His gross over-generalizations of NBA players is all the more embarrassing considering who his teammates are, and have been, since he got into the league. Guys like:
-Michael Redd, a devout conservative Christian, the son of a minister in Columbus, Ohio. A guy who routinely mentions that he doesn't like going out, because "he needs to get lots of sleep before a game". Not a guy with fast cars, and bling bling, but rather a hard-working player who was a second-rounder, backing up a future Hall of Famer in Ray Allen, who worked so hard in practice that he earned an opportunity as a three-point specialist. Then he parlayed that opportunity into more playing time, an eventually a starting job, and eventually an All-Star appearance, a spot on the U.S. National Team, and a big contract plus the responsibilities of being his team's go-to guy. Not Bogut, the #1 pick overall - no, Michael Redd, the guy picked in the 2nd round, taken in a spot where most guys never even make their teams.
-Maurice "Mo" Williams, another second rounder, who got a chance to fill in for the Buck's injured starting point guard (TJ Ford at the time), and made enough of an impression that the Bucks traded Ford so Mo could start. Another hard working guy who was never suppose to make it in the NBA. What other team in the league even has two 2nd-rounders in their team's 8-man rotation, much less as their starting backcourt?
-Second-rounders galore on the Bucks, when former second-rounder Bobby Simmons signed a deal to join the team in 2005. He's struggled since getting there, due to an injured ankle that forced him to miss the entirety of last season.
-Oh, and my favorite, the Dominican Charlie Villanueva. The son of a pair of immigrants, Villanueva was a heavily-criticized lottery pick when he was taken, mainly because no one thought he was going to be that good. Instead he worked hard on his game, and as become a solid young starter in the NBA. He's also known for suffering from Alopecia areata, a skin disease that causes all his hair to fall out, rendering him completely hair-less. He's a spokesman for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, and often spends lots of time talking to kids who have the same condition, trying to make them feel better about themselves. It may not be a life-threatening disease, but for most kids and teens who have Alopecia, it can be very tough on their self-confidence to be bald and hairless.
Villanueva has won a bunch of community awards for his service.
I'm sure Villanueva and the rest might be into fast cars and bling bling; most 20ish somethings are, and if you gave them that much money, I'm sure that's what most 20-something kids in the U.S. would spend it on. The point is that if, after being in a locker room with them, and playing with them, for two years, all you can come up with in characterizing them is "bling bling" and "fast cars", well... I'm going to have to assume you are pretty much an ignorant Australian douchebag.
And if I was your teammate, I probably wouldn't be very supportive of you, either.
The Bucks clearly have a chemistry problem - they have too much talent, and too many hard working players, to not be improving. And if you don't think Bogut is heavily responsible for the bad team chemistry, you aren't seeing the big picture here. Not to mention that he's a #1 pick overall who isn't the first option, or even the second option, on his team. Is he even an option? While his individual numbers have improved every season, the Buck have gotten worse every year since Bogut got to Milwaukee.
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yeah, aussies r like that thier really dumb.
ive been to australia once, and they critisize america alot. but its funny, they follow america too.....
oh yeah Jack, funny comment. I missed it my last time around.
I personally think that he probably has apologized for his comments in a public manner. At least I would assume that much. Even if he never did, his teammates are still making hundreds of thousands to 10's of millions of dollars. I think that when you are at your profession you treat your colleges with respect and attempt to not hold any biases.
I think several Bucks players went out of their way to not give him props for his shot. That is what I have a problem with. It shows that they are bringing the hostility they have towards Bogut onto the court. Who is to say that this hostility is stopping at not high fiving? Maybe they are playing favorites while the shot clock is running as well... and that just can't help the team.