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The Red and White Rocket

On Sunday afternoon I was sitting on my couch rocking my vintage #16 Raptors jersey watching Matt Bonner rain down threes on the Celtics and thinking ‘could life get any better?’ Then it did when I turned on tsn.ca to learn that Bonner has applied for Canadian Citizenship and is planning to represent Canada in international basketball competitions. Born in Concord, New Hampshire, Bonner has a Canadian Grandfather and his wife is from Toronto, but that’s all just semantics. The fact is Matt Bonner is awesome, he has red hair, he loves Toronto and he drains three balls, so give him a damn passport already.

When Bryan Colangelo traded Bonner to the Spurs in 2006 I was obviously disappointed. Not only is he the best red-headed player in the league and therefore my idol, I also had just bought his jersey. However, the trade was bittersweet. Like sending your dog out to live on a farm, I knew in San Antonio Bonner would have a better opportunity. Once Robert Horry retired, Bonner stepped in to the Spurs rotation and has become a valuable role player. Bonner’s outside shooting ability has allowed him to thrive playing alongside Tim Duncan. Bonner’s shooting range stretches the defence and allows Duncan to get easier looks inside and Duncan’s post play attracts double teams which opens up shots for Bonner on the outside. Coach Popovich has rewarded Bonner’s solid play by starting him in 36 of the Spurs games and playing him for a career high 23 minutes per game. Bonner has responded by averaging a career high 8.6 points per game, while shooting 53.5% from the field and connecting on a league-leading 50% of his shots from behind the arc.

Now that the Red Rocket will be donning the red and white I can rejoice in the opportunity to once again cheer for one of my favorite players on one of my favorite teams. I believe that Bonner will be a better fit on Team Canada than Samuel Dalembert. Not only is he not a complete jackass, but Bonner can actually score the basketball. Dalembert is a good NBA player because he is long and athletic, but he can’t do much besides for rebound, block shots and dunk. Therefore, he couldn’t be the primary option on offense that Canada needed him to be. Since teams are only allowed one naturalized player, Bonner’s application for his Canadian Citizenship likely spells the end to Dalembert’s short but rocky stint on Canada’s National Team. Even with Bonner on the team, Canada will be unlikely to reach its goal of being ranked in FIBA’s top ten by 2012, but whatever - they’ll be a lot more fun to watch with the Red and White Rocket.

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One Response to “The Red and White Rocket”

  1. Blake Murphy Says:

    Oh you would Shaw, you WOULD love Bonner for the red-hair connection.

    On the real though, I’m pumped to have him…a big man with that kind of range in the Euro game is just filthy.

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