Matt Bonner Talks His Co-Birthday Party with Stephen Jackson, Catching Passes from Manu, and Kevin Durant

by June 09, 2017

Matt Bonner officially retired from the NBA a few months ago. He ended his career as a 41 percent three-point shooter, good for 15th all-time. He didn’t play in the 2016-17 season, but in his 12 years in the League, he won two titles.

Now Bonner’s working for the Spurs as a TV analyst. He also just joined up with Futuro to help promote the importance of healthy living. He starred in a hilarious video to announce the partnership, bouncing around on a trampoline and doing a cannonball into a pool. Futuro’s Ryan Gaynor and Dominic Julian say that Bonner completely understands the need to stay as active as possible.

We caught up with Bonner a few hours before Game 3 of the Finals started. He predicted the Warriors winning the 2017 ‘chip. The Red Mamba knows all.

SLAM: We had a big piece about the culture of the Spurs a few months ago. Why does everyone buy in so quickly?

Matt Bonner: It’s two-fold. One, who they decide to bring on, personnel-wise. It doesn’t just have to be players, it can be trainers, equipment managers. They bring on a certain type of person, someone who’s hard-working, high character, giving of themselves. People who are preprogrammed to check their ego at the door. They put the team first and understand that by doing so your personal success will naturally follow. And also people who have a sense of humor. You can’t take yourself too serious.

SLAM: Timmy and Pop have this legendary sense of humor that everyone talks about. Danny Green’s a funny guy, Patty Mills is a character, Manu Ginobili’s always had a great sense of humor. What’s the locker room like?

MB: It’s so fun. It’s just hanging out with your boys. It’s a blast. You take what you do seriously, but you don’t yourself too seriously. That’s phase one, who you bring on. And then phase two is your leadership. Coach Pop and Timmy, Tony and Manu. If you’re new in the organization and you’re trying to figure out how am I supposed to act and you see their level of professionalism and work ethic, what are you gonna be like? ‘Nah, Tim Duncan, you’re wrong. You won’t last.’

SLAM: One of the other things that you hear about is Pop making you guys go out together all the time. Is that true?

MB: Yeah, we do a lot of team dinners.

SLAM: There’s also a story that you took Stephen Jackson to a Coldplay concert. Is that true?

MB: My Goodness, did I get him to come to that? I can’t remember, honestly. Stephen Jackson and I have the same birthday, April 5. We decided to do a joint birthday. What would you think, two NBA players you go into a nightclub and you’re balling out? We rented a theater at the Alamo Drafthouse, which is this really cool retro movie theater chain. And we had an “Anchorman”-themed birthday party. We had a quote-along screening of “Anchorman” and handed out fake mustaches for everybody on the team. Everybody on the team came. You were encouraged to dress up as your favorite Anchorman character.

SLAM: What’s your favorite “Anchorman” scene?

MB: Probably the pool party scene. The whole pool party scene is hilarious. It sets the tone of the movie. He’s, like, lifting weights. I’m horrible at remembering movie quotes. [Stephen Jackson] was all about it.

SLAM: There’s this one pass you caught from Manu in 2012. It came in like a bullet.

MB: I think no one could believe I caught it, myself included. It was almost like “The Sandlot,” when Smalls caught his first ball. Benny’s just like, ‘Put your glove up and I’ll take care of the rest.’ He closes his eyes and it’s like, ‘I caught it!’ That’s how it was. I know from experience, when you’re playing with Manu, you better be watching him at all times or he’ll ping one right off your head. I was just running and whoa, I got a layup. Then I was like, ‘Oh my God, don’t miss this layup. You’ll ruin this moment for him.’

SLAM: What’s your defensive strategy against Kevin Durant right now?

MB: Get super physical. I’ve been hearing former players in the media saying if teams played harder they’d be able to beat the Warriors. I don’t think that holds true. Steph, no matter how hard you play against him, he’s still going to be able to get his shots off because of his crazy footwork and quick release. KD’s 7-0, athletic, handles, he’s going to get to his spots and get his shot off. It doesn’t matter how hard you play, there’s nothing you can do if he wants to shoot the ball. And they’re both former MVPs. The best thing for KD is to make his life as difficult as possible. He’s still going to do what he does, but just make it as hard as possible, make him work as hard as he possibly has to, to get to his spots, to do anything.

SLAM: Why is it important to stay active and take care of your body?

MB: The obvious reasons are quality of life and good health. You don’t have anything if you don’t have your health. For me, it was a goal once I retired from playing basketball to try to stay in some semblance of shape. Futuro’s products, I’m wearing their knee sleeves and I actually wear their compression socks when I do the broadcast with the Spurs.

SLAM: On the Futuro website, they have a section of tips and tricks to stay healthy. What’s your go-to trick?

MB: My big one is anytime I’m on an escalator I do calf stretches. You stand on an escalator and instead of just standing there, I hang it off and I stretch my calves while I’m going up. Gotta keep my calves loose. You can be efficient on an escalator.

Warriors Win 2017 NBA Title

Max Resetar is an Associate Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @maxresetar. Photo by Jennifer Gonzeles, courtesy of Futuro