Bogut on NBA and U.S. Culture

“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…”

I agree with the person who uttered these words. That’s right, I a-gree —– from his perspective, I totally agree.Why? Most importantly, there’s more to the statement than meets the eye. Next, from this person’s ultimate insider perspective, he’s more than likely 100% accurate in his perceptions. Finally, outside of a minor Internet day-and-half mention and one or two sentences saying not a whole lot, quiet has accompanied what this NBA player said in an interview.

Who is the player? Andrew Bogut of the Milwaukee Bucks. The seven-foot center (12.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.0 apg) just completed his second season in the NBA as a starter. Bogut is back home in Australia for the summer and was the subject of a feature story by Sydney Morning Herald writer David Sygall.

Now, before everybody goes off on either Bogut, me or both, here’s more of Bogut’s statement:

“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.”

Among Europeans, what are the most common complaints about American tourists? We’re flashy. We’re loud and obnoxious. We lack manners. We act like everyone should speak English and get an attitude when they don’t. More from Bogut:

“I’m not into jewelry. 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.

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.

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 guys totally ignore it. I guess if you’re a normal person and suddenly you’re getting $10 million a year, it can go to your head.

But 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.”

Societal differences, cultural differences. We live a land that actively seeks to wipe its history from its peoples’ consciousness. It’s called “American gauche.”

We got things. Cars. Houses. Jewelry. You know that “New York attitude” crap we laud so much? The rest of the world laughs at us for holding onto that attitude as a positive; we’re such suckers.

So, of course our athletes will mirror the remainder of American society. Bogut tells the truth – and the part about how many players, by the time their run as players is done, are broke, is a sad truth.

I have no beef with Bogut.


9 thoughts on “Bogut on NBA and U.S. Culture

  1. I agree that it’s part of the culture, but whatever those guys want to do, it’s up to them. You can raise your children in an environment where there’s no real “bling” and they can still come out with that mentality. It all comes down to how you raise your children and how you decide to teach them to value money. That’s the part I don’t agree with as far as Bogut is concerned.

    I mean, jeeze, Matt Bonner is American, and he’s one of the cheapest guys around. (In a good way). So it takes all kinds. I’m sure if Bogut was with the Raptors, he wouldn’t really have the same perspective, because most of the guys on our team aren’t heavy crazy spenders. It just all comes down to the players, and it’s just kind of a huge generalization.

  2. Bogut’s perception is his and his alone. One’s reality is formatted by one’s singular thoughts and do not reflect the whole. Bogut’s former collegiate coach Rick Majerus stated how Bogut had a vision problem that was verified as fact so his view is coming less than 20/20. Bling on NBA players if that’s your choice and at the end of the day it’s truly “To each his own.” Peace…

  3. A guy born in eastern europe, raised in Australia and who has lived in Utah and Milwaukee surely has enough experience and expertise to make broad generalizations about the NBA and America. While I believe that America and Americans have issues, I don’t believe he is the person to make these comments. Maybe he should spend a little time working on his game…and maybe his lack of success is the real reason for his bitterness.

  4. Rick wrote, “Maybe he should spend a little time working on his game…and maybe his lack of success is the real reason for his bitterness.”

    I hear you Rick jealousy/eny is a disease that has no cure.

    This is not specific to Bogut but all, “player haters.”

    Interesting take Rick and response D-Wil.

  5. I just wanted to make sure exactly where the sentiment originated from… As Tim Cowlishaw said later (and I can attest to this having hung out with many Australian tennis players) on Around the Horn (and I paraphrase): it’s the way a lot of Australians think about America. Of course it’s a generalization, but this is how they see our culture. Plus, he was talking to an Australian and New Zealander audience.

    IMO, it shouldn’t even be a big deal, unless people want to take out the “American” part and leave the “bling-bling” parts in and the “80% end up broke” hyperbole in or unless what he says about the U.S. leaves people butt-hurt to the point they get all jingoistic and schtuff….

    Though other Western countries are Westernized, they retain parts of their past – more often than not, visibly. We, on the other hand, like to wipe our past away with a quickness – and it’s actually pretty sad.

    And really, none of us have any idea how many ex-NBA players have money because the average career span of an NBA player is 3 1/2 years ( in 1981). So, say it’s 4 1/2 now. How much cash does a dude end up with at the end of his very brief basketball lifetime?

    Not much, I bet…. he might even be close to, if not completely, broke.

  6. As an Australian I can tell you the only reason this got press in Australia was because it looked at Americans in a critical light. Australia has a close bond with America but there are certain values they don’t share with the US and the audaciousness and brashness of US culture is cringe worthy down under.

    You don’t have to like it or understand it, but it’s just the way it is.

    What seems to have been forgotten in all of this was the quote regarding financial lessons the league gives them. Everyone is focusing on how “hush hush” Bogut should be and what he said was potenitally dangerous subject matter because it could be perceived as racist even. Why? Because some guys have pathetic financial management skills? People seem to conveniently forget the fact Bogut has an insiders perspective. Maybe the “80% go broke” bit was an exaggeration, but it’s not like he’s plucking all of this information out of his behind.

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