If you run a Google search for Matt Bonner, the majority of hits about him relate to when he got punched in the nether regions earlier this year by Marcus Smart. Do a deep dive, though, and you’ll soon find out that Matt Bonner is the Most Interesting Man in the NBA.
The unassuming long-time bench player for the Spurs may not seem like much to talk about to the average NBA fan, but Spurs fans and those who have followed his career know that he’s truly one of the funniest and quirkiest personalities in today’s game. Here’s why Matt Bonner is one of my favorite players in the NBA and should be one of yours, too.
1. Knows the value of the almighty dollar
There are a lot of stories of Bonner’s frugality, so much that I’m going to need to make a list just to cover them all. They include:
- Drove a ’96 Grand Prix for most of his NBA career, which he bought in New Hampshire and drove up to Toronto for the purpose of avoiding sales tax. Claims it’s tricked out with 12″ rims and the stock radio. Eventually settled on an Impala when the Grand Prix broke down, citing the good gas mileage.
- Earned the nickname “Red Rocket” because he used to ride Toronto’s Red Rocket public subway system to games.
- Used to wait until 10 p.m. to order Domino’s Pizza while in the NBA so that he could get the late night deal.
- Was the only player in the NBA to wear New Balance shoes in games for years because they were comfortable and he got a bunch of free pairs. Eventually scored a shoe deal with Adidas by begging on Twitter.
2. Inventor of Sandwich Analytics/Sandwich Blog
You have no idea how much Bonner loves sandwiches. He even created a blog on NBA.com to chronicle his search for the best sandwich in America. You can check out Matt Bonner and the Search for the Hoagie Grail here.
When his NBA.com blog went defunct, he created a new vlog where he interviews rappers about their favorite sandwiches. He calls the series Wrappin’ with the Red Mamba. Check him out beatboxing while semi-obscure rappers freestyle about sandwiches.
Bonner has sandwiches down to a science. In an interview with Grantland’s own analytics guy, Harvard Professor Kirk Goldsberry, Bonner broke down the math of sandwiches:
I’m glad you brought up analytics. Charts, graphs, and numbers don’t lie. Even though 28 percent of them are made up. Here is a very rudimentary formula I came up with for rating a sandwich:
Score on a scale of 1-100:
A = bread
B = meat
C = fixings
D = sauces
.4(A) + .3(B) + .2(C) + .1(D) = overall score on a 0-100 scale
Each ingredient is weighted based on its level of importance to a good sandwich. Please note that the coefficients can certainly change when dealing with specialty sandwiches (for example, a steak and cheese would have a higher value placed on meat)
High-level stuff right here.
3. Creator of the Matt Bonner Challenge
Also from Kirk Goldsberry’s Grantland article, Bonner has invented a really fun basketball challenge that members of the Spurs routinely compete in. Try it!
4. A Pretty Good Comedian
There are a bunch of YouTube videos of Bonner doing improv and other comedic adventures. This one is probably my favorite, a tribute to Andy Kaufman:
5. Rumors tying him to Coach B
If you haven’t seen this Bonner-produced YouTube series, please do yourself a favor and watch them all. It’s a lesson in basketball and comedic brilliance: