Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 9/9/13
San Antonio Spurs' Matt Bonner was in Manila recently to lead the NBA Fit and NBA Cares activities. Being the global ambassador that he is, Bonner didn’t always have his professional career set in stone.   Bonner gave some details on how exactly he made it in the NBA after a year of playing in Italy to start his professional career.   "I've always been a three-point shooter in high school and in college.  But it doesn't guarantee you'll be a great three-point shooter in the NBA."   "I remember being in the GM's [Rob Babcock's] office on Halloween, it was the day before our first regular season game. After practice, he had a contract on his desk and he explained to me that it was a rookie, one-year league minimum un-guaranteed contract. Basically the worst possible contract you could give someone. Then he explained to me, you played the previous season in Italy and had an amazing year, you've got all these ball clubs in Europe offering you more years and way more money. You can go there and be the star or you can sign this contract and be the fifteenth man, basically.”   "I remember thinking, and coach Mitchell was in there and he was like, 'Yo Matt, when you were a kid, did you dream of playing in the NBA or playing in Europe? I said NBA, and I signed the contract, and it ended up being the right move."   "[Mitchell]'s a huge reason why I made it. He believed in me, he gave me my chance, my start. I was lucky enough in my first year in Toronto, I got to play with Donyell Marshall, one of the great stretch big men. He taught me a lot about how to find that niche as a stretch four, how to carve it out and make a career for yourself. Even when I got traded I got to play with Robert Horry, another great player in that category, and he taught me a lot as well."   Bonner is also grateful to have fallen into the Spurs organization, and showed his gratitude for the legendary coach.   "I consider myself lucky to have played for him (Gregg Popovich) through all these years, to learn from him, and watch him masterfully get the most out of his players and our team, year in and year out.”   "I don't know if I can narrow it down to one thing that I like most about Coach Pop. It's more of a collective of who he is and how he conducts himself. In the NBA, if you're not a star player or a surefire starter, it's about roles and niches and complementing those stars. Being able to stretch the court for Manu [Ginobili] and Tony [Parker] to drive or for Tim [Duncan] to post up is an important thing."   Bonner has always known his role in the NBA and it’s helped him stay around for as long as he has. Mastering a specific role or skill can help carve out a spot for many players in the NBA. Specialists are a big part of the NBA game. Bonner’s outside shooting is his strong suit, but lately people have begun to see another aspect of his arsenal; his flair for the camera.   Are Spurs fans looking forward to another season with the "Red Mamba"?   (via GMA News)
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NBA players to fund health insurance for some former players

Report: Geno Smith 'intent' on beating out Ryan Fitzpatrick

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker