Australian basketball great Andrew Bogut's only regret is not stopping to smell the roses during the good times of a career celebrated around the world following his retirement on Tuesday.
The seven-foot centre won an NBA championship with Golden State in 2015 during a decorated professional career that included 14 seasons in the United States.
He also represented Australia at three Olympic Games and starred in two NBL seasons with the Sydney Kings, three-time NBA champion Luc Longley declaring him "the best basketballer we have produced as a nation" among the many tributes to flow on Tuesday.
Bogut declared he couldn't carry on through to the postponed Tokyo Olympics - a target he had coveted - citing the physical and mental toll a series of significant injuries had taken on him.
"The only regret I really had was probably not enjoying the moment more when I was in the bubble," the 36-year-old said on his 'Rogue Bogues' podcast.
"When you're in your prime as a professional athlete you probably lose sight of (the fact) it's still enjoyable and fun.
"You take losses hard, you take a bad game hard and you take getting traded or cut or whatever ... you take it hard as an athlete."
Bogut admitted professional athletes can be "selfish assholes" at times, but deemed the narrow focus a necessity in the cut-throat environment.
"You kind of have to be because it's a dog-eat-dog world," he said.
Bogut was the NBA's No.1 draft pick in 2005 and stayed the course in the world's premier basketball competition despite enduring a long list of injury setbacks, including a badly dislocated elbow and a broken leg in separate incidents during games.
He returned to Australia in 2018 with the aim of using the NBL's lighter schedule to prolong his career and guide his battered body through to the Tokyo Olympics and was named NBL MVP in 2019.
His Tokyo dream was ultimately cruelled by serious ankle and back injuries that required surgery after the NBL season, as well as the Games being pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The last two years have been a real challenge for me just to get out of bed in the morning some days, let alone go to a training session or a game," Bogut said.
"The body, probably from 2018 onwards, was hanging by a thread.
"It was real challenging and from the 2019-20 season that thread was completely frayed and in little pieces."
Former Boomers centre Longley declared Bogut "Australia's best centre and until Ben Simmons dethrones him the best basketballer we have produced as a nation".
"The uncompromising way he went about the game was an example to all young hoopers," the former Chicago Bulls forward said.
"I'm sure he will attack the rest of his life the way he has attacked rims for the last two decades."
The Boomers will now chase an elusive Olympic medal without Bogut, leaving Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova to form the core of Brian Goorjian's squad, as the availability of Ben Simmons remains uncertain.
"I just can't physically and mentally get to 2021 with the way the body has been," Bogut said.
"I mean, I could on a lot of painkillers and with a lot of physical and mental anguish but it's just not worth it at this point in my career."
Australian Associated Press