Matt Bonner and 3-Point Shooting!
The San Antonio Spurs were part of the American Basketball Association in the 1970s, and so was the three-point shot, made from a half-circle 23 feet and 9 inches away from the basket. In April 2013, the Spurs began the playoffs by sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers, a championship-winning stalwart of the old NBA, and a key to that victory was the three-point shooting of Concord’s Matt Bonner.
Bonner, a power forward, was described as “the best basketball player ever produced in the state, let alone the city,” by Allen Lessels in the Concord Historical Society’s Crosscurrents of Change: Concord, N.H., in the 20th Century. When he played for Concord High, the big redhead scored 2,459 points, more than any other Class L player, and the Crimson Tide won three state titles. Bonner went on to play for the University of Florida and the NBA. Bonner got few playing minutes during the Spurs’ regular season but contributed big-time in the playoffs, leading the bench with 29 minutes.
In an April 26 article, The New York Times reported that Bonner’s specialty, the three-point shot, has become an exciting element of the modern game. Reporter John Branch called the drained 3-pointer an “exclamation point … as crowd-provoking as a dunk, but worth 50 per cent more on the scoreboard.”
John Branch’s New York Times article on three-point shots is here.
Facebook users around the country are campaigning for Concord’s Matt Bonner, a forward with the San Antonio Spurs, to join the three-point shooting contest during basketball’s All-Star Game weekend, Feb. 15-17 in Houston.
Bonner leads the league in three-point shooting percentage, .463 as of Jan. 24, but he has not been selected for the Feb. 16 three-point shooting contest. Some critics have said Bonner hasn’t played enough minutes with the Spurs this season to be included – but two seasons ago, the Concord High graduate led the league in treys.
The 6-foot-9 Bonner was described by writer Allen Lessels as “the best basketball player ever produced in the state, let alone the city,” in Crosscurrents of Change: Concord, N.H., in the 20th Century, published by the Concord Historical Society. Bonner led Concord High’s team to three consecutive state basketball championships (and graduated at the top of his class) before leaving for the University of Florida and nine seasons with the NBA’s Spurs.
Luke Bonner, the player’s brother, started the ball rolling in an open letter to the NBA. “I’m putting myself out there to stand up for my big brother,” Luke wrote. “For my family, being named one of the competitors in the NBA three-point contest is the highest honor one could receive (you don’t have to worry about considering Matt for the dunk contest).” The independent rock band War on Drugs, the actress and activist Eva Longoria, New Hampshire’s Gov. Maggie Hassan, and more than a thousand average people have joined the Let Bonner Shoot campaign on the Internet.
Bonner found out about the #LetBonnerShoot campaign when he visited a local sub sandwich shop, the San Antonio Express-News reported. “I had to look up what hashtag meant,” said Bonner, who does not have Twitter or Facebook accounts. “Then I came to realize this whole social media phenomenon had started. It’s very flattering. I’m honored to have so much support.”
What do you think? Is Bonner the best athlete to come out of Concord High?