Here at BDWPS we focus on the world of music, but on this special weekend, I ask you to turn your attention to the NBA All-Star Game festivities. I have a lot of friends that speak of the NBA with disdain, often labeling the players as “thugs” or “money hungry,” yet these same people will watch an entire weekend of NFL football without blinking an eye at the cheap shots, late hits, and overall self-glorification seen after each tackle and first down. If you are one of those who turned your back on the NBA after the likes of Jordan and Bird retired, let me assure you, there are still athletes within the league who play with the same passion and humility (Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Love, to name a few).
But this post isn’t about getting you to be a fan of the NBA; I’m here to illuminate a player that the average BDWPS reader can get behind, a guy who epitomizes the same quirky, independent spirit that this blog espouses. His name – Matt Bonner. In a nutshell – we blog econo; he shoots econo. In fact, Bonner is a fan of indie rock himself, befriending bands like The War On Drugs and Arcade Fire and touting the likes of the The Hold Steady, Deer Tick, and Okkervil River as his favorite artists (for those keeping score, both War On Drugs and Arcade Fire have been featured within my top five albums the past two years).
In fact, without the help of these indie rock bands and others, Bonner would have probably been snubbed from the NBA Three-Point Contest for the fifth straight season. In the past month, an army of indie rock bands pitched their support for the #LetMattShoot Twitter campaign launched by War On Drugs frontman Dave Hartley and Matt’s brother, Luke. After hundreds of tweets, an online petition, and a little help from a friend of a friend, Bonner finally made his way into the competition.
But getting into the shootout isn’t enough. We need Matt to win, not only for himself, but for us – those of us who congregate on the outskirts, enjoying purity over popularity. In the same way as we had the joy of watching Arcade Fire win the Grammy over bloated egos like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Eminem, Bonner offers us a chance to see the little guy throwing a wrench into the system.
Matt is as DIY as they come. He’s a blogger, posting short vignettes on his exploits at mom and pop sandwich shops across the country, a self-professed “Quest for the Hoagie Grail.” He’s a comedian, posting videos that hearken back to the quirky, shortly run TV series “Wonder Showzen.” He’s a philanthropist, hosting a yearly “Sneakers and Speakers Benefit” that features such bands as Deer Tick, Strand of Oaks, and The Hold Steady (on a side note, he even talked the Spur’s brass into allowing The Hold Steady to perform a post game concert at the stadium, i.e. he’s a bad ass). And much like the independent label bands he loves, Bonner refuses to support the big business shoe companies, opting to be the only player in the NBA wearing New Balance, a company that has gained notoriety based on the quality of their shoe rather than the quantity of the advertisements.
In other words, Bonner is the NBA’s equivalent of Ian MacKaye, and on Saturday night, you have the chance to see him put a dent in the NBA elite’s armor. Here’s to hoping for a steady diet of swishing.