NEW YORK When Andrew Bogut played at the Junior World Championships in Greece in 2003, he used to hang out wearing a purple Milwaukee Bucks jersey No. 7 in honor of one of his Croatian heroes, Toni Kukoc.
Little did Bogut know at the time that two years later he would be posing with a white and purple Bucks jersey No. 6 as the No. 1 choice in the NBA Draft.
A lot has happened in Bogut's life over the past two years and by the time the draft unfolded Tuesday night at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, the 7-foot Aussie was expected to be the No. 1 pick by Milwaukee.
However until the moment David Stern announced his name in front of the 5,000-plus raucous fans, Bogut wasn't sure if he'd be going to Milwaukee or Atlanta.
"I was confident, but I wasn't 100 percent," Bogut said. "They said it would be me or Marvin Williams, so it was 50-50."
But Milwaukee was definitely Bogut's first choice. After first saying he didn't care who drafted him, Bogut was almost lobbying Milwaukee to select him during the past week, and he got his wish.
"It's a great city, I love Milwaukee," Bogut said. "Being in Salt Lake City, it compares very favorably to Milwaukee. It's a small-market city and the people are friendly and family-oriented."
By being the No. 1 selection, Bogut joined Ute quarterback Alex Smith as a No. 1 draft pick. That made history for the University of Utah, which became the first school to ever have two No. 1 picks the same year in the NFL and NBA.
"This is such a great day in the life of Andrew Bogut," the big Aussie said, taking a page from the Karl Malone-third-person style of speech. "This is something I'm going to remember forever."
Bogut was one of 16 players invited to the draft and his table of six was closest to the podium. After showing up late enough to make some TV folks nervous, Bogut waited patiently with his parents, Michael and Anne, Utah coach Ray Giacoletti and his two agents from SFX, David Bauman and Alexander Raskovic, for 20 minutes before the draft began.
NBA commissioner David Stern welcomed everyone and said that the Milwaukee Bucks were on the clock. That seemed kind of strange, since the Bucks had actually been on the clock for more than a month, after being the surprise winners of the lottery draw.
With 2:20 left on the five-minute clock, Stern strode to the podium and said, "With the first pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select Andrew Bogut of the University of Utah."
When Bogut heard his name announced, he leaped to his feet and hugged his parents and received congratulations from his coach and agents, while four women on the front row of the balcony his sister, two aunts and his agent's wife cheered wildly.
He put on one of the purple Milwaukee hats that were quickly distributed to his table, shook Stern's hand and posed for a picture before making the rounds for ESPN-TV, ESPN radio and interviews with the print media.
Bogut was excited when he saw the Bucks jersey with his name on the back and said he was "95 percent sure" he would choose No. 6 as his number, which he first wore as a child.
Bogut publicly encouraged free agent Michael Redd to re-sign with the Bucks and said he feels the two will make each other better players. He also said the Bucks will have a good chance to make the playoffs next year.
When asked about the fact that the Bucks don't have a coach, Bogut said he wasn't worried.
"Mr. (Larry) Harris is one of the best GMs in the league," he said."That organization is very well put together, and I think those guys will find a great coach."Comment on this story
Giacoletti, who had so much to do with Bogut's rise to the top of the NBA Draft, stayed on the floor throughout the first round before joining the Boguts for a party later."I'm just so happy for Andrew and his family," said Giacoletti."They're special people. They reared him in such a way that he's a great person and he's taken care of himself both on and off the floor. It's a great story."