NBA Life with Matt Bonner: 3-Point Shootout campaign takes off
Rock stars, Hollywood stars and high-powered politicians have all joined a movement to help send Spurs forward Matt Bonner to the NBA All-Star weekend and participate in the 3-Point Shootout next month. Musicians from The War on Drugs and Arcade Fire, in addition to actress Eva Longoria and Gov. Maggie Hassan, have all pushed for the NBA to "Let Bonner Shoot." Bonner, of Concord High, entered the weekend leading the NBA in 3-Point field goal accuracy at 46.3 percent.
Sunday News: You must be a humbled redhead at this point.
Matt Bonner: Absolutely. It's funny. It wasn't that long ago when David Hartley from the band The War on Drugs texted me and said he wanted to launch this internet campaign to get me into the 3-Point Contest. He coordinated with my brother, Luke, and that's about all I knew about it for a while. I'm not on Facebook or Twitter, so I'm not all that connected within social media.
I started having random people mention it to me. I was getting a sub at Lenny's (in San Antonio), and the person making my sandwich says, "Hey, it's blowing up on-line. Everyone is trying to get you into the 3-Point contest." Someone at the gas station told me they saw a tweet from Win Butler (of Grammy award-winning Arcade Fire) about it. Next thing you know, it gained a lot of momentum.
SN: How are you handling the attention?
MB: It's definitely humbling. Hopefully it happens. I've been waiting my whole career for the opportunity to compete in the contest. I appreciate all the support from everybody.
SN: What if the league doesn't open its eyes and let you shoot? Are you prepared for more disappointment?
MB: I'm actually taking the same approach I've had in recent years. I've been let down many times in the past. I think there have been three seasons when I was leading the league (in 3-point shooting percentage) going into the All-Star break and didn't get picked. I don't want to get my hopes up. It's tough not to get excited. I have my fingers crossed that it will work, but at the same time, I'm trying not to get too excited.
SN: What's it like to hear other players like Joakim Noah (a fellow Florida Gator) stepping up to support you?
MB: It's a high compliment. Joakim is a great player. We as Gator boys should be proud of Joakim. He's really worked on his game and improved every year. He's on the cusp of making the All-Star team.
SN: You made seven of eight shots against the Hawks and scored 17 points. Do you think it was enough to get you back into the rotation full-time and get more playing time?
MB: I don't know. It's up to me to stay ready for when those opportunities arise. I'll be called upon when needed. We do this as a team. We have 14 guys who are helping out. I think I got those extra minutes because Timmy (Duncan) wasn't playing. Once he comes back, I doubt my minutes will stay the same. That's fine. I mentally expect that. Like I said, I'll stay ready for when I'm needed again.
SN: What are your thoughts on the whole Manti Te'o situation and so-called hoax?
MB: For whatever reason, he was kind of the media darling of the college football season. Notre Dame was the story, and he was the guy. Everyone is really curious what this is all about, and maybe it's just human nature. He's now put into a position where until he is 100 percent up front and really releases every detail of what happened, people are going to keep digging because they want answers. He did that 2-hour interview with ESPN (off-camera), and that just raised a whole bunch of new questions because there were inconsistencies from what Notre Dame reported and other things that had been said. Only until you shine a light on everything and answer all those questions people will accept it and move on.
SN: How did you end up spending time with new Eagles coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia?
MB: It was funny how it worked out. We had an entire day off in Philadelphia. No practice. I talked my brother into driving down for the day. We were sitting there getting ready to watch the Pats game. I shot him a text. He got back to me and said, 'We're in a coaches' meeting. We'll be getting out soon. Where you at?" We were at a bar and grill having some food and watching the game. Sure enough, he came by with some coaches. It was very nice of him. It was the first time I'd really been able to hang out with Chip. I was impressed with how down-to-earth he was. Obviously, he's really excited with his new job in Philadelphia.
SN: How tough was the AFC Championship to watch? The Patriots did not seem that engaged and into the game.
MB: Yeah, not to mention there were some game-management errors at the end of the first half when they had to settle for the field goal. It seemed like there were multiple opportunities to build on that slim lead and for whatever reason could not get it done. The Ravens hung around and were able to blow it open when the Patriots were unable to respond to some adversity.
Matt Bonner discusses The NBA Life each week with radio broadcaster Chris Ryan and New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Kevin Gray, and the interview appears weekly in the N.H. Sunday News.