Bogut tells Simmons to commit to the national team before the Olympics

Noah Strang
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Noah Strang
07/09/2023
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Andrew Bogut tells Ben Simmons to commit to the national team

Andrew Bogut is tired of Ben Simmons withdrawing from the national team. He says the Nets player must make a commitment soon. 

News Insights

  • Bogut is a former Boomers star.
  • Simmons has not played for Australia since 2013.
  • “Once bitten, twice shy,” says Bogut of Simmon’s recent comments on joining the national team.
  • Fans are frustrated by Simmons, says Bogut

In a recent interview with Sporting News, former Australia basketball and Golden State Warriors star Andrew Bogut spoke about Ben Simmons potentially playing with the Boomers at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Bogut believes it is time for Simmons to make a final, strong commitment instead of the tepid comments he has made in the past. 

Simmons says he will play in Paris Olympics

Nets’ star Ben Simmons recently gave an exclusive interview to Andscape.com’s Mark J. Spears. In that interview, the 27-year-old former number one overall pick told Spears that he would like to play for Australia at the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Are you thinking 2024 Olympics in Paris at all for Australia?” asked Spears. “Yeah, for sure. Olympics? Yeah, 100%. And that’s what I want to do next year,” responded Simmons. The 6’10” point guard later added “ I’m going to play when I’m ready” and that he was not ready physically now to play for Australia, but that his goal is to be ready for the Olympic team next season. 

This is not the first time Simmons has made a comment like this regarding the national team. Just earlier this year, Simmons flirted with the idea of playing for the Boomers at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Just prior to the tournament squads being announced, Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets came to the “joint decision” to withdraw from the tournament in order to continue his rehabilitation for a back injury that he suffered late last NBA season. 

Without Simmons, the Boomers were knocked out of the FIBA World Cup in the second round by the Maverick’s Luka Doncic’s Slovenian side. 

Bogut calls on Simmons to make a final commitment

During his playing days, Bogut was one of Australia’s most high-profile basketball players, and is probably one of the greatest players to put on a Boomer’s uniform. It is no wonder then why he is upset with Simmon’s constant in and out routine regarding the national team. Bogut issued a final challenge to Simmons this week, stating that the Nets’ player needs to stop teasing it and just commit or not say anything.

The 38-year-old Aussie legend lamented that “We're on the fourth or fifth bite right now with this same scenario emerging, where there's a big PR campaign around Ben playing for the national team, and putting out these comments for 12 months before a tournament, and then a month before the tournament, for whatever reason, he pulls out” 

Bogut clarified that he is “not against guys not playing for the national team” and that he was sympathetic to Simmons considering his injury troubles. However, Bogut wants Simmons to not commit when he is actually not committed. 

Just say, 'Hey, I don't know if I'm going to be available. We'll see how it goes’,” said Bogut. The constant will-he-won’t-he routine from Simmons has caused “a little bit of frustration” with fans, according to Bogut. 

Bogut, a former number one pick, like Simmons, also questioned whether Simmons had what it takes to play for Australia. "Your role changes for your national team, minutes change. Is he going to buy into that?,” asked Bogut, before adding that it would ultimately be a good thing for Simmons to represent his nation. 

I think he's capable of doing it. I think it'd be great for his career and great for his mental psyche to be part of that group,” said Bogut. 

Whether Simmons actually decides to play for the national team in 2024 is obviously still up in the air. If he does, the Australians could be one of the surprise underdogs at the Paris Olympics. If he does not, people like Bogut will have plenty more to say about Simmons.