It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Bogut the bogeyman at World Cup in China after Sun Yang barb

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Agence France-Presse

Australian star Andrew Bogut was booed and heckled during Sunday’s victory over Canada in the Basketball World Cup in China by locals seemingly furious with his barbed comment about swimmer Sun Yang.

The 34-year-old centre enraged Chinese sports fans in July when he tweeted: “Swimmers who medal vs Sun Yang should break the podiums with hammers…….”

The tweet, which garnered thousands of interactions, was a cheeky reference to China’s triple Olympic champion missing a doping test after a vial of his blood was smashed with a hammer.

Sun was the subject of podium protests by some fellow swimmers — notably Australia’s Mack Horton — at the world championships in South Korea in July.

But the 27-year-old Sun remains a hero to hundreds of millions of Chinese, and sections of the crowd at Sunday’s match in the southern city of Dongguan made clear their anger at Bogut’s intervention.

The veteran appeared unfazed, however, scoring 12 points as Australia began their World Cup campaign with a nail-biting 108-92 win.

Bogut, a key member of the Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship-winning roster in 2015, fanned the flames ahead of his arrival in China, tweeting: “Wheels up to China! Can’t wait to see all my Chinese fans soon.”