In 2021, Warriors center James Wiseman is all the rage. But Golden State’s recent dynasty started with the Angry Aussie, Andrew Bogut, in the pivot.
The Warriors acquired Bogut via trade in 2012, and he helped turn the franchise around, along with guard Stephen Curry and others. The coach at the time was Mark Jackson, and he had a big hand in flipping Golden State’s fortunes as well, with his defense-first approach. But Bogut revealed a bit about the locker room in those days via his Rogue Bogues podcast.
“Mark, without sugar-coating it, was somewhat running a church recruitment group within an NBA locker room, to put it bluntly,” he said. “He was very big with religion, which is fine with me. I have to issue with anyone being religious. I kind of draw the line when it becomes a door-knocking, recruiting process, which it kind of felt like at times.”
Bogut also gave Jackson credit for his part in the Warriors’ dynasty, which accelerated after Jackson left, culminating in three NBA championships.
This isn’t too much of a shock at all, since Jackson is a licensed minister, but it is interesting to hear from Bogut. It’s also not surprising that the former No. 1 overall pick of the Bucks couldn’t let Jackson’s ways slide off his back completely. That’s what makes him the Angry Aussie. Bogut never let this affect his play on the court, from what I saw, so it’s just a snapshot into the locker room during those formative years.
And looking back, having faith in the locker room, in any form, was a good thing at that time, and maybe necessary. The Warriors were terrible, and any form of positivity, or at the very least, a lack of negativity, was more than welcome. A religious locker room may have especially helped Curry, who is also a man of faith. The superstar declined to work out for Golden State before the NBA Draft, sending a strong signal he wanted no part of the troubled franchise. Former general manager Larry Riley and coach Don Nelson pulled the trigger anyway.
And it led to a dynasty. The Warriors are trying to start another one, and a bit of faith might do them well this time, too — however they want to express it. Just don’t call Jackson. Curry has it covered, along with Wiseman, coach Steve Kerr, Draymond Green and the rest of the 2021 locker room.