Back in August, with the dulcet tones of some of today's top pop hits providing a playful soundtrack, Matt Bonner had a joking yet somewhat serious plea. Addressing the crowd gathered to hear him spin tunes as DJ Red Mamba (a nickname given to him by Kobe Bryant) at White Park in Concord, New Hampshire, Bonner asked if they had any leads on potential jobs for a 6-foot-10 three-point shooting big man.
Bonner was DJ-ing as part of the Rock on Foundation's Rock On Fest, an annual charitable indie music concert held in his hometown of Concord. The foundation is run by Bonner and his brother Luke, so his whole DJ set was a brief fun musical reprieve aimed at the children in the audience. But while his comical attire of a Zorro mask, a hooded cape and a colorful Red Mamba t-shirt matched his humorous plea, Bonner was being half-serious.
Earlier in the summer, the Spurs had informed him that after 10 years with the franchise, they were not going to re-sign him. After getting bested in six games by the Thunder in the second round, the Spurs wanted to get younger and more athletic. So Bonner became a free-agent and although he was 36 years old, he wanted to continue his career and sought other opportunities.
But now that season is more than a quarter of the way over and with no teams showing any true interest, Bonner announced on Thursday that he was officially retiring from professional basketball. And true to form, Bonner announced his retirement in a way that he only he could -- a tongue-in-check video short that pokes fun of himself:
From Bonner's post on The Players' Tribune:
Today, I'm announcing my retirement from the NBA. Thank you to everyone who supported this humble redheaded role player through the years. I loved every team I played for and every city I lived in.
Staying true to myself, I made this mildly humorous video. Unless a professional "spot shooting" league miraculously crops up, I hope you will continue the support for whatever comes for me after basketball.
(aka The Red Rocket, aka The Red Mamba, aka The Sandwich Hunter, aka Coach "B")
Percentage-wise, Bonner will retire as the 16th best three-point shooter in NBA history. Bonner led the NBA in three-point percentage during the 2010-2011 season, shooting 45.7 percent. After years of campaigning for it, he participated in the All-Star 3-point shootout in 2013. A social media movement of #LetBonnerShoot played into his selection and he made it to the final round. Bonner scored 19 in the first round and 20 in the second, high scores for sure, yet Kyrie Irving caught fire in the last round and scored 23 to win the competition.
For his career, which included two years with the Raptors before 10 years with the Spurs, Bonner averaged 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 46.4 percent and 41.4 percent from three. These are largely unremarkable numbers but Bonner's three-point shooting allowed the Spurs to space the floor and he helped San Antonio win two of the franchise's five championships in 2007 and 2014.
Bonner will largely be remembered as a fan favorite due to his humorous personality, which his amusing retirement video showcases. From filming amusing skits as an 80's-inspired alter ego named "Coach B", to tracking his sandwich eating exploits to creating his own custom Christmas Day sneakers on his trusted pair of New Balances, Bonner was a character in every sense of the word and the passionate fan base in San Antonio absolutely embraced it.
Although Bonner's retirement means that the career of one of the all-time great NBA personalities has to come to an end, he isn't going too far. Bonner will be joining the Spurs broadcast team as a studio analyst starting on Jan. 10. He will be covering all Spurs home games and a select road ones. Bonner will also assist with broadcasting duties for the Spurs' D-League affiliate the Austin Spurs and the WNBA's Silver Stars.
The Bonners' Rock On Foundation will also continue to be a fixture in the NBA community. For the past several years Rock On has hosted an indie charity concert at All-Star weekend and that tradition will likely continue with rumors of possibly more charitable-themed events occurring during the festivities.
Bonner is the second-longest standing member of the Spurs to recently retire as before the season started Tim Duncan announced his retirement. Bonner's retirement certainly won't get as much emotional fanfare as Duncan's did, but he holds a special and unique place in the Spurs franchise that will truly never be forgotten.