Matt Bonner has heard the cry of his faithful fans about the #LetBonnerShoot campaign and he's come out with his response: he wants in All-Star weekend.
In an article he wrote for SLAM Online, Bonner talks about his early years playing for the Toronto Raptors and now the San Antonio Spurs and how he's attended the festivities every year. There's just one problem: he's attended them for union meetings, not to partake of the activities.
He knows he probably will never be an All-Star and he's OK with that, but he does know he has a shot to be part of the fun and that's in the 3-Point Shooting contest. He's shooting 43% from behind the arch this year, which is better than his 42% career three point shooting average. He's never been invited to the contest and, by stats alone, that's a travesty.
Bonner comments in the article about factors that may be playing against him being selected.
As of yet, I have never been selected for the Three-Point Contest. I’ve come close a few times, I think. I theorize that the red hair and New Balances are killing my chances.
While he's being sarcastic, no one really knows if there are factors playing against him in this situation. NBA Commissioner David Stern loves marketing and those qualities Bonner mentioned are reasons to actually want to market Bonner in the contest. Bonner's red hair isn't a curse, but more of a popular symbol. How many "memes" have we seen of retired NBA player, Brian Scalabrine? The attention he's gotten over the years weren't just because of his goofy antics or attitude, but mostly because of his hair. He's still talked about today, even while retired. There's also Bonner mentioning his New Balance shoes. He's the only player in the league who wears them. A red headed popular player who's the only one who wears a certain brand of shoes to play in?
This is marketing gold for the league and the contest.
From a mechanics or shooting motion argument, Bonner may not do well in the contest. I've strongly believed he shouldn't enter because his motion doesn't allow him to succeed in it. The traditional shooting motion helps players grab the basketball from the ranks and elevate while recovering in their motion. Bonner shoots differently with his release point being much lower and his feet having to be set. If you check out some videos with him making shots, he has to basically be a statue that's set. If he doesn't get a good pass where he can catch and shoot right away, he's usually forced to put the ball on the floor and that's not a good sign for Spurs fans who are watching the game.
This situation is different though and, although the main reason I didn't support Bonner to enter it was because I don't think he'd come close to winning, it seems Bonner doesn't care. The guy wants to enter the contest to be a part of the fun and to have fun himself.
Anyways, All-Star Weekend is quite the spectacle. It’s literally off the heezy-for-sheezy (see, even New Balance-wearing redheads can talk hip). Every basketball fan should try to experience it at some point in their lives.
After all, Matt Bonner is a basketball fan who's living his dream. He wants to be a part of the celebration that involves great shooters and the great players of the league. He's looked and watched the game from the outside in a corporate suit talking business and now he wants to be in uniform having fun. The fans and Bonner himself aren't asking to give him this opportunity, he's earned it.
He's shooting a high percentage with shrinking playing time and games played, that's not the easiest accomplishment when all you're asked to do one thing and you're not getting much in game practice for it. In the end, Bonner just wants to have fun and he's earned it.
He doesn't care if he wins or loses, he just wants to be there and experience it. As fans, we feel the same way when we hear the All-Star game is coming to our home state. Bonner's gotten the support of a lot of fans and you can count me in on this one. The league should and needs to #LetBonnerShoot. After all, isn't that what All-Star weekend is supposed to be about: the fans?