Posted: Sunday July 3, 2005 7:26PM; Updated: Sunday July 3, 2005 7:30PM
The 7-0, 249-pound Chris Anstey played three seasons in the NBA -- two with Dallas and one with Chicago.
Stephen Dunn /Getty Images
MELBOURNE, Australia (Ticker) - Chris Anstey has fired back at fellow Australian 7-footer Andrew Bogut.
Anstey, a former NBA center, put a formal challenge to Bogut, his teammate on the national squad and the top overall pick in last week's NBA draft who belittled the performance of some of his compatriots.
Speaking on Australian national television, the 30-year-old Anstey challenged the 20-year-old Bogut to a 1-on-1 showdown "anywhere, anytime, and I would beat him."
Anstey said he had been upset by Bogut's comments before the draft about the showing in the NBA of Aussies such as himself, center Luc Longley and guards Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal.
"I would like to think there are three or four Aussies better than him [Bogut] right now," said Anstey, a former first-round pick who never averaged more than six points per game in the NBA.
Bogut, who has signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, was particularly harsh on Longley, a fellow 7-footer with perhaps the best credentials of an Australian NBA player.
Another former first-round pick, Longley won three championships and had his best seasons from 1996-98 as the starting center alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the Chicago Bulls. That did not impress Bogut, who did not like being compared to Longley.
"I've had a better collegiate career than anyone else from Australia that came over here," Bogut said last week. "I'm not as slow as Luc Longley, I'm more athletic, I can shoot better, I am more competitive. So I think it's not even fair to bring that name up."
A clearly wounded Longley said Bogut's comments showed a lack of respect for himself and the other Aussies who had played in the NBA, including Gaze, who unlike Bogut played in the NCAA Tournament title game with Seton Hall.
"I'm disappointed for him that he has made such a clumsy start," Longley told the West Australian newspaper. "He's inexperienced and got caught out. I'd like to see him do well and if he's as good as he says he is -- and I'm expecting genius -- he should make it. But the signs are not good so far."
Anstey chimed in Sunday, saying Bogut had plenty to learn.
"If he reaches the potential that Luc did, with three rings, then he will have done well," Anstey said. "But it will take him [Bogut] a while to get going. He needs a lot of court time, which is something Aussies have struggled to get."