×

Rapping – and rocking – with Matt Bonner



Last modified: Thursday, July 09, 2015
Major NBA news broke on Saturday when the San Antonio Spurs and a sweet-shooting power forward reportedly agreed to a lucrative, multi-year contract.

You’re probably thinking the Spurs finally paid Concord’s Matt Bonner what he’s worth. Oddly enough, that’s not the case.

LaMarcus Aldridge was the power forward who allegedly agreed to a maximum contract with San Antonio on Saturday. How that affects Bonner, who is currently a free agent after playing nine years with the Spurs, is still to be determined. But when the Monitor caught up with Bonner at Rundlett Middle School on Wednesday, the former Concord High star made it clear he would like to return to San Antonio.

“I’m hoping to be back with the Spurs. I’ve been there nine years. I love playing for that organization, my teammates, the coaches and staff, the fans and everybody there,” Bonner said during lunch break at the basketball camp he and his

brother, Luke, have been running for 13 years. “I prefer not to uproot my family and my life. But if someone came along and offered me a giant contract, maybe I’d consider it, but who knows if that’s going to happen. And if for some reason (the Spurs) wouldn’t take me back, then I’d have to go to Plan B and find another team to play for.”

Most basketball fans in the state would be thrilled if that Plan B included the Celtics. Asked if some part of him would enjoy coming back to New England to play for the hometown team, Bonner replied with a quick, “Absolutely,” before elaborating.

“I grew up a Celtics fan and every kid who grows up in these pahhts (perfectly executed New Hampshire accent) dreams of playing for the C’s, so if that’s how it went down, that would be awesome, but you can’t control these things, really,” Bonner said. “Your agent handles things, it’s a business, there’s roster spots to consider, this, that and the other thing, so I’m just going to see how it pans out.”

After reaching the Finals the last two seasons, and winning it all in 2014, the Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs this year by the Clippers. San Antonio held a 3-2 lead in the series before Los Angeles came back with a pair of wins, including a 111-109 decision in Game 7 when Chris Paul banked in a shot with a second left for the win.

“It was tough losing like we did in the first round, coming down to the buzzer like it did in Game 7 and then having to watch the rest of the playoffs at home,” Bonner said. “But I’ve been trying to take advantage of the extra time off, trying to spend more time with family and work out more so I’m in even better shape and ready to go next year.”

The 6-foot-10 Bonner is best known for his 3-point shooting, but his numbers from beyond the arc dipped this past season. Bonner has connected on 41.4 percent of his 3-point shots during his 11-year NBA career, but last year that percentage dropped to 36.5.

There had been no explanation or obvious reason for that decline … until now.

“You’re about to get an exclusive here,” Bonner said. “I hate to make excuses, I was raised to never make excuses, but I went through a two-and-a-half month stretch where I had really bad tennis elbow, and during that stretch it made it so painful for me to shoot I’d almost be cringing before I even caught the ball like, ‘Oh, this is going to kill.’ ”

The injury, which was actually on his left (non-shooting) elbow, lasted from early December to the All-Star break. During that time Bonner shot 32.4 percent from 3 (25-for-77). Before and after that stretch, he shot 42.8 percent from 3 (21-for-49).

“I really don’t want to say that’s why my percentage dipped, but I’m not too worried about it,” Bonner said. “I know I can still shoot.”

He also knows, or at least thinks he knows, how he got the injury.

“Everybody is going to find this hilarious, but here’s my theory on how I got it,” he said. “When the new iPhone came out it was way bigger than the last one, and I think because I got that new phone it was a strain to use it, you have to stretch further to hit the buttons, and I honestly think that’s how I ended up developing it.”

Before you start laughing (or at least when you finish), know that this is not unprecedented. Bonner said he spoke with one of the Spurs’ strength and conditioning coaches about the injury and the coach reported that he had suffered a similar injury after spending too much time playing a game on his phone.

Then again, Bonner probably won’t mind if you laugh. In fact, he loves making people laugh. His latest comedic project – following in the footsteps of his Coach B web series, The Sandwich Hunter blog and Wrappin With The Red Mamba video – is a music video, “Spurs! by Spuran Spuran.”

The video is a spoof on the “Sports!” video from the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!” show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. It features Bonner and San Antonio teammates Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes and The Coyote, the Spurs mascot. And it is definitely worth a look, or five, at youtube.com/watch?v=qxw2FZBd7aY, where it has close to a million views.

“It’s a long season and stuff like that is great to break it up and create some relief from the grind,” Bonner said. “It’s just great that the Spurs support creative outlets like that.”

He added that “directing music videos is a pain in the butt,” and doesn’t imagine himself pursuing that as a post-basketball career. But the 35-year-old has thought about the future and what he might like to do when his playing days are done.

Last month he spent a week at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications attending the Sportscaster U broadcasting program offered by the National Basketball Players Association. He did color commentary for a couple of broadcasts for the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s D-league affiliate. And later this month he’ll be going through a management program offered by the NBPA at the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas.

“I don’t know exactly which avenue I’m going to pursue, but I’m definitely trying to build my résumé in each category and get experience,” Bonner said. “Hopefully through that process I can figure out what’s most enjoyable and what I’m going to be most passionate about.”



(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)