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(E) Andrew's identity is with Australia and Croatia
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  04/8/2005 | Sports | Unrated
(E) Andrew's identity is with Australia and Croatia

 

Andrew's identity is with Australia andCroatia
 

Bogut the Air apparent


By David Sygall
April 3, 2005
The Sun-Herald

"He's also set up a foundation to help underprivileged kids in Australia, Croatia and the NBA city he will play for. He doesn't want to be one of these NBA guys who only cares about jewellery and cars."

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Rising star ... Andrew Bogut's abilities and appeal are tipped to put him into the marketing stratosphere
Photo: AP
Basketballer Andrew Bogut's marketing power will be the equal of Michael "His Airness" Jordan's and has the potential to influence the Australian economy, his manager David Bauman claims.

Bauman said Bogut's ties to Australia, North America and Europe - coupled with his extraordinary basketball skills - made him unique in the NBA, challenged only by 229 centimetre Houston Rockets player Yao Ming, who is a superstar in his native China.

Bogut is expected to be the No.1 choice at the NBA draft in New York on June 28 after becoming a household name in the US during a remarkable college season for Utah.

He was named the Associated Press US college basketball player of the year on Friday and is favourite for the Naismith Award, to be announced today, and next week the Wooden Award, whose winners include NBA legends Jordan, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Bauman said he and the 20-year-old would be meeting major sports shoe manufacturers this weekend to assess their offers.

"It looks as if Andrew's going to get a very lucrative multi-year contract with one of them," Bauman said.

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Advertisement"Andrew has become known across the United States in the past six weeks - his name is across headlines in every newspaper in the country. That's why the shoe companies are lining up with their chequebooks open.

"He's so marketable also because we have the Australian market, the North American market and, because of his Croatian roots and his success [at the junior world championship and Olympic Games] in Greece, he's a known entity in Europe.

"Andrew has told me his identity

is with Australia and Croatia. He has said to me numerous times he wants to utilise his profile in Australia and form associations with some big companies there and raise their profile in the States.

"It's not out of the question that Bogut has the potential to have an impact on the Australian economy.

"Michael Jordan has a separate brand within Nike. That brand is the third or fourth largest shoe company in the world.

"There's no reason Andrew can't be a very successful multinational corporation himself, with substantial financial ties to Australia."

Bogut's former Australian Boomers teammate and roommate Shane Heal, who played with NBA side the Minnesota Timberwolves, said he hoped Bogut was dealing with the right people, as interest in him would be enormous.

"He would have had every top agent in the world swarming over him for the past two years," Heal said. "His decisions now will be the most important ones of his career. It'll be interesting to see what unfolds over the next month."

Bogut has selected Bauman, a Washington DC-based lawyer whose company SFX represents 20 per cent of NBA players, including Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady, to guide him throughout his career.

Asked what the hype over Bogut was like compared to that for Bryant at the same stage in his career, Bauman said: "I haven't seen anything like this. This is really something unbelievable.

"It started two years ago when he dominated kids his age at the world junior championships. He won the championship almost single-handedly.

"At the Olympics he got to play against NBA players, a very high level. That's when the hype started.

"He skyrocketed from No.15 in the charts to No.1. He is leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else in the draft.

"The comparisons I'm hearing are with Bill Walton, the last great white centre who was No.1 draft pick - that was in 1974. They're saying Andrew will be the first great player like that in 30 years. He is in the company of some very, very good players."

Bauman said he was impressed by how well adjusted Bogut was in the face of all this attention.

"He is the most grounded player I've come across in 14 years.

"His first instinct when he knew he was in for a lot of money was to give back to the school [University of Utah]. He donated $US125,000 [$162,000] before he even had it, to build a new locker room for his teammates.

"He's also set up a foundation to help underprivileged kids in Australia, Croatia and the NBA city he will play for. He doesn't want to be one of these NBA guys who only cares about jewellery and cars."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Basketball/Bogut-the-Air-apparent/2005/04/02/1112302291322.html?oneclick=true
 

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