The fans of Sydney have been waiting. First they waited to get their team back in the NBL. Then they waited throughout a tough 14 game losing streak in 2010/11. Most recently, they’ve waited through an off-season that seemed to take forever, as they waited to see the regular season return with a newly-invigorated Sydney Kings squad, ready to take a serious shot at a post-season run in 2011/12.
Part of that wait involved an exciting, nerve-wracking and ultimately unsuccessful shot at securing Milwaukee Bucks star Andrew Bogut to play with the Kings for as long as the NBA lockout continues.
Now that wait is over. Tonight the fans of Sydney witness the first home game of the 2011/12 NBL season at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, more affectionately known as the Kingdome. The New Zealand Breakers, the reigning champions, are the visitors and they arrive in Sydney as the favourites in the eyes of many.
The professionalism of the Kings outfit this season is immediately evident. The training facilities and staff at Macquarie University provide the team with strength and conditioning training second to none in the league. The front office has been tailored towards covering all aspects of the team as both a business and a basketball team.
And perhaps the biggest verification of the Kings’ standing as a professional outfit comes with the Bogut stamp of approval. The big man chose the Kings as the place he would most like to play in Australia this season, even if it did not ultimately come to fruition due to insurance issues.
Tonight Bogut is in attendance at the Kingdome, lending his support to the team that he very well could have been part of. When asked why he chose the Kings over all of the league’s other suitors, he did not hesitate in nominating the professionalism of the team’s management, including David Wolf, as a key to his choice.
With the NBA lockout looking like it may continue for an indeterminably long period of time, Bogut is working out at his new world-class training facility, “Andrew Bogut Basketball“, doing his best to keep in shape with individual work. His unfortunate insurance predicament makes it almost impossible for him to train against other basketball players, for fear of injury.
When pushed as to whether he is closely following the NBA lockout situation, Bogut is, as always, honest. He understands that the average fan is not interested in the push and shove between “billionaires and millionaires”. The fans just want to see games and Bogut is the same. For the most part he has removed himself from the squabbles of the lockout and awaits a resolution before he emotionally invests himself in the situation.
He looks forward to jumping straight back into training with the Bucks. Until that time comes, he is happy to pursue his Australian business interests (AB Basketball and his car modification company, ABC Customs). He is also happy watching Australian basketball thrive, as he will be tonight sitting courtside as the Kings take on the Breakers.