Matt Bonner. The Red Rocket. The Red Mamba. According to Thomas Duffy from Poundingtherock.com, “Bonner’s brand of oddness is probably more comparable to the Dos Equis guy than anything else. Off the floor, the Red Rocket is one of, if not the, most interesting man in the NBA.” Matt Bonner who just turned 36 in April has been in the NBA for 12 years and he hails all the way from my hometown of Concord, NH.
Matt was born April 5, 1980 and grew up in New Hampshire and attended Concord High School where he lead the Crimson Tide to three state championships and was the Valedictorian of his class. He then attended the University of Florida where he combined for a total of 1,570 points, 778 rebounds and 165 field goals in his four years. Florida made multiple final four appearances through Bonner’s time there and in 2000 he lead the team to the national championship where they lost to, Michigan State. His senior year he was selected for first team All-Southeastern Conference selection as well as an honorable mention All-American. Off the court he succeeded as well graduating with high honors (3.96 G.P.A.) with a Business degree. In 2002 and 2003 he won Academic All-American.
Bonner was then selected in the 45th round in the 2003 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, but then was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Due to limited space the Raptors couldn’t offer Bonner a roster position and he went and played professionally overseas with the Sicilia Messina in the Italian League. Then finally in 2004 he signed a one year deal with Toronto and played in 82 games. In 2006 he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, in which the Spurs won the NBA National Championship that same year. For the past 10 years Matt has been with the Spurs, recording a career game high 25 points and 17 rebounds. Won his second NBA Championship in 2014. With a field goal percentage of 45.7% in the season 2010-11 season he was selected to participate in the NBA Three-Point Shootout. He knocked of Ryan Anderson and Stephen Curry in the semifinals and lost to Kyrie Irving in the finals. He is one of six players to have played ten consecutive seasons with the Spurs. He ranks fourth in franchise history in made 3-pointers (654), fifth in 3-point percentage (.414) and ninth in games played (628).
On January 22, 2013 Kobe Bryant was re-watched his 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, Bryant started live tweeting his memories about the game. A fan tweeted to Kobe and asked him, “how lucky do u feel that Brian Scalabrine wasn’t on the Raptors to D u up in this game? #WhiteMamba” (@greaterthan). Bryant then tweeted by “The white mamba wasn’t in building but the red mamba was… Matt Bonner.” Rather than let it fade, Bonner embraced the nickname and carried the name, Red Mamba forever more.
Help cheer on Matt Bonner as the Spurs take on the Memphis Grizzlies in game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals tonight at 6:30 PM on ESPN, FSSE and FSSSW.
Check Matt’s highlight reel from the 2013-2014 season.