Q&A: Matt Bonner

Posted by Unknown on Monday, August 25, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Dan McCarney 

So how does it feel to be a global ambassador for the entire NBA? 
I mostly just yell Marco Belinelli, and everyone cheers.
Pretty much the entire team is returning, with only Aron Baynes yet to be re-signed. Were you ever concerned the Spurs were going to move on without you? 
I had several teams calling me to check about my availability, and I kept telling everyone I wanted to wait and see what happens with the Spurs because that was my No. 1 option. It took a little while. I understand I’m not the No. 1 priority anymore. I shouldn’t say anymore; like I ever was. But I understand being a role player, somewhat towards the end of the bench. They have to let the market play out and see what other opportunities are available. They told me the whole way they wanted me back. They just had to do their due diligence. I understood that so I stayed patient and told everybody I was going to wait for the Spurs.
Last year’s team obviously had a tremendous hunger to pursue the championship after what happened in 2013. How will you guys manufacture similar motivation to defend the title? 
Of course I’m going to say I think we can do it. I’d be remiss not to acknowledge how difficult it will be, just given how hard it is to make it out of the Western Conference. You have to get lucky with being healthy and whatnot. The Spurs usually get everybody’s best shot, and now we’re really going to get everyone’s best shot being the defending champs. So it’s definitely going to be difficult. But we’re led by three guys and a coach who have done it up to five times. Even everyone coming back, we know what it takes. We are passionate about playing basketball. We all really enjoy playing with each other. We understand this could be like the last hurrah. You never know how long Timmy’s going to play. So it still means a lot, even though we won it last year, to be motivated to try to do it again.
What were your thoughts about the Becky Hammon hire?
My first reaction was that it’s great for women. She broke, to me, an important barrier, having a sister who is passionate about basketball and worked just as hard as I did growing up, and now has the opportunity to work in the NBA. For women to have the same opportunity on the men’s side of the game means a lot. That being said, there’s a reason she’s the first one — because she deserves it. She’s qualified, she has the respect of everybody on our team. She’s basically become a San Antonio legend playing for the Stars for so long. 
Kind of like you? 
I wouldn’t go that far. But she was around a lot last year in workouts and practices. Guys are used to seeing her around and definitely respect her for everything she’s accomplished in the game.
Apropos of nothing, Becky and I went to the same high school in South Dakota, Rapid City Stevens. 
Are you serious? That’s going on my top 10 list of most random things I’ve ever heard.
One of the first things you notice when you’re around Becky is that she has a tangible confidence, almost like a male swagger.
I wouldn’t even separate male and female swagger. She’s a competitor. It doesn’t matter what color or what sex you are, if you’re a competitor, you’re out there to win. She went undrafted, and she’s gone on to have one of the most prolific WNBA careers ever. It’s a pretty amazing story.
On to the other coaching addition, Ettore Messina. A two-part question: What do you expect from him, and is it a stretch to look at his resume and think he might be a pretty good replacement for Pop whenever he does decide to retire? 
Honestly I haven’t really thought about that stuff. I’m just excited to learn from him and play for him. Coach Messina is one of the most respected coaches in the international community. I honestly have no idea what to expect about what he brings to the table. I’ve never played for him. I played against him a few times in Italy. That was many moons ago. I’m sure he’s improved in his craft as well since then. I mean, he was great then too. I just know he’s a very respected coach and I’m excited to learn from him.
So how proud are you that Kawhi Leonard, citing good gas mileage, prefers driving his Chevy Malibu from college over the Porsche his family and friends talked him into buying? 
I lead by example. As long as your AC works, you have good leg room and fuel economy, you’re in good shape. In fairness, he does also own a Porsche. But I do appreciate the fact he drives the Chevy more.
So why is it that you’ve never splurged now that you’ve made a few bucks? 
I don’t even understand when people say that because to me, I do splurge. My Impala is the LTZ top trim model. I’ll eat at any restaurant I want now. In the past, I would always wait until 10 o’clock so I could get the Domino’s late night deal. But now, if I want pizza, I’ll go to a gourmet pizza place at 4 o’clock if I feel like it. To me, that’s splurging.
But you’ll never be like Tony, who bought a Lamborghini pickup truck once own by Eddie Van Halen. 
(Laughs) The thought never crossed my mind. But I would never say never.