It probably won't stop Stephen A. Smith from continuing his ridiculous, overly dramatic schtick in the future, but Andrew Bogut's jab at the ESPN talking head was still pretty satisfying.
"He is just a wanker, pretty much," Bogut said on the Australian basketball podcast "Downtown" (via Roy Ward of The Sydney Morning Herald).
I mean, we've all been thinking it for the past decade or so, haven't we? At least Bogut had the platform to broadcast his thoughts on one of the media's most prominent windbags.
It's important to mention Bogut's name-calling wasn't without provocation. Smith, perhaps uninformed of the severity of Bogut's broken rib at the time, called the big Aussie's toughness into question before the Warriors took on the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, via Bay Area News Group's Diamond Leung:
Stephen A. Smith: Ws "devoid of big man presence b/c Andrew Bogut continuously resembled Andrew Bogus as somebody who's a complete no-show."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 6, 2014
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Andrew Bogut: "He can certainly defend but behind his back he is called the Tin Man for a reason. No heart."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 6, 2014
There are a few of things to note here.
First, Bogut's injury was no joke. Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal explains:
If you're going to pick sides in this one, choose the one headed by the Golden State center. Anonymous sources are often tricky beasts, but looking beyond that, let's just think about the timing of Bogut's absence.
The big man didn't play throughout the postseason, sure. But why?
Only because he had a rib fracture that knocked him out of action. In fact, the dislodged bone was perilously close to his right lung, and even minimal contact could have caused a puncture, which is obviously an injury that most humans would like to avoid.
Second, Smith has made a career out of saying controversial, provocative things. Whether he actually believes any of what he says is sort of beside the point. He's paid to talk—loudly and with great conviction—about every subject the news cycle puts in front of him.
It's no fun to take a measured approach to things like Bogut's injury and his absence's impact on his team. Nobody's interested in rational discussions or shades of gray anymore.
Smith and his employers know this, and all parties involved are more than happy to capitalize on the public's never-ending appetite for sensational sound bites.
Finally, Bogut has two settings: ornery and asleep.
That means he's probably the last guy Smith should have expected to get away with insulting—with anonymous sources as his backing, no less.
In sum, absolutely none of this (Smith's blowhard nonsense and Bogut's curt, delightfully Aussie response) should be surprising.
I guess the only downside is that Bogut's comeback generated even more attention for Smith than his comments afforded him in the first place. And the last thing anyone should be doing is paying more attention to Smith.
If we remove the deliberately incendiary and dramatic tone of Smith's comments, there's an actual forward-looking concern buried underneath the nonsense. Golden State has invested three more years and $36 million in Bogut, and it fully expects him to anchor a championship-caliber defense—something he absolutely did when healthy this past year.
But that's just it: Bogut has a long and storied history of missing games with injury. Many of those absences were caused by freak occurrences (he couldn't have avoided a shattered elbow or a broken ankle), but the fact is that he's one banged-up customer. His ability to stay on the court will mean a great deal to a Dubs team desperate to elevate its profile next season.
So, whether you're a Warriors fan or not, you should probably be rooting for Bogut to put together 82 healthy contests next year—if only because it'll shut Smith up.