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October 31. 2012 11:58PM

Bonner's 'NBA Life' returns Sunday


San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15) reacts after a shot during a 2011 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE)

In the past eight seasons, Concord native Matt Bonner has taken Granite Staters for a ride to an NBA championship, on a quest to find the best sandwich in North America, and behind the scenes with all-time greats like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. Bonner had a tussle with Kevin Garnett in Toronto and a sank seven 3-pointers at Oklahoma City.

The journey continues.

"The NBA Life with Matt Bonner," entering its ninth season, will again be published in the New Hampshire Sunday News each week of the season. The Sunday conversion stems from an award-winning radio show by the same name, headquartered at WKXL in Concord by hosts Kevin Gray and Chris Ryan.

The 6-foot-10 Bonner, drafted in the second round by Chicago in 2003, played one season in Italy before earning a spot on Toronto's roster in 2004-05. He played two seasons for the Raptors and was traded to San Antonio in June 2006. The Red Rocket, a nicknamed linked to the public transportation system in Toronto, began his seventh season with the Spurs on Wednesday night. The 32-year-old has scored almost 4,000 career points and grabbed nearly 2,000 rebounds. A career 41.5-percent shooter from 3-point range, Bonner ranks 13th all-time in 3-point shooting accuracy.

"I've always enjoyed doing the show and talking sports and music or Red Sox and Patriots, whatever is going on," Bonner said. "I've gotten so much support from New Hampshire through the years. This is an opportunity for me to share some insight with the fans. It's pretty amazing how people have followed my career, especially since I'm just a role player. I can't talk to all those people, obviously, but maybe I can reach them through the show."

"The Life" co-hosts Kevin Gray and Chris Ryan have taken the program on the road, recording from the The Alamo in San Antonio, the White House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and atop Mount Washington in recent seasons. The program also has been conducted at NBA arenas such as the TD Garden, Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"My favorite part of the show through the years has been following Matt on road," said Ryan, who is also broadcasts Manchester Monarchs games with Ken Cail. "We never know where we'll end up. Last season, on a trip to Texas, we ended up taping a show with the legendary Junior Brown from Riley's Tavern, the oldest bar in Texas, that used to be a brothel. The next day, we were talking championships with Tim Duncan and politics with Matt and Manu Ginobili in the Spurs locker room."

The season's first edition of "The NBA Life" will appear Sunday in the sports pages of the New Hampshire Sunday News.

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Kevin Gray may be reached at kgray@unionleader.com.


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