Andrew Bogut: Adversity shapes the self-made man
It hasn't been all roses for the Golden State Warriors so far in the playoffs. They beat the disappointing Houston Rockets in their first-round series, but it wasn't a cakewalk sweep, and now they're sweating over Stephen Curry's sprained right knee, hoping he'll be back in time to play some part in their semi-final series against the Portland Trail Blazers, as well as be fit enough to be the difference-maker he is for the rest of the playoffs.
Basically, they're still headed in the right direction, but it's certainly been more difficult than they would've wanted. Good thing they've got someone on their side who knows a thing or two about battling through adversity to achieve ultimate success: Andrew Bogut.
Bogut's NBA troubles have been well-documented. Taken number one overall ahead of the likes of Chris Paul and Deron Williams, his career never quite hit the superstar highs of the two point guards, not helped by some very unfortunate injuries, the most serious of which has irrevocably changed the way he shoots.
And yet, it's not like the rest of his life had been a smooth-sailing orgy of fame and money leading up to his entry into the league, as with many other top picks. In fact, he barely had enough money to friggin' eat while in college.
"Honestly, I had no money. So - and I wouldn't recommend this - I was eating off the Wendy's Dollar Menu for a matter of months." Bogut told Daniel Brown of the East Bay Times.
"I thank the NCAA for that because they don't really help us out too much, especially international students. My sophomore year, I went and asked my coach for some money, which is illegal. He said no. I asked for him to buy me some food, and that was illegal as well... It was a struggle."
It was a continuation of what had been a childhood spent in a rough part of town. Bogey grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Endeavour Hills, working-class to its core. He had to be tough to withstand the bullies, and even got expelled from high school for fighting too often.
"It's still a rough neighborhood. It's a place that people choose to leave. People live there out of necessity... No disrespect to the people there, but it's a very, very rough area." Bogut explained.
All these experiences are still readily apparent on the court nowadays, with Bogues combining the talent (passing, smart defense) that got him a better life with his junkyard dog, 'nothing easy' mentality to help this Dubs team do all the impressive things they've done the last couple years.
He averaged just 18 minutes per game in the first round against Houston, but still managed lead the team in blocks and grabbed the second-most boards. He then had a solid first game against the Trail Blazers, recording 10 points, 12 boards, 2 steals, and 3 blocks to get the Warriors off to a good start in the series.
You best believe they need this 'role player' if they want to repeat.