Matt Bonner is an unlikely candidate for a fan-driven NBA All-Star campaign. The San Antonio Spurs center is averaging just 3.8 points and two rebounds per game coming off the bench this season. But his shooting percentage from downtown — 48.4 — is surprisingly robust; even if he is playing just 11 minutes every night, Bonner is raining 3s as accurately as anybody in the NBA.
Because of his 3-point game, Bonner has garnered a small but significant following that is now soliciting the league to allow the 6-foot-10 shooter to participate in this year’s 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend. There’s an online petition at Change.org that currently has more than 250 signatures, and a Twitter hashtag — #letbonnershoot — that’s been catching on among indie-rock bands, including Arcade Fire. “There’s so much injustice in the world that we can’t do anything about, but this is something we can change. #LetBonnerShoot,” reads a recent tweet that was RTed 300 times. (The campaign is reminiscent of the Let Shannon Dunk push in 2010. That one ended with an underwhelming Shannon Brown appearance in the slam dunk contest.)
The man behind the online push is Dave Hartley, bassist for the excellent Philadelphia rock band The War on Drugs and the new solo project Nightlands, whose sophomore album, Oak Island, comes out today. “Matt is an outsider in the NBA, someone I would always root for,” Hartley told Spin. “He takes public transportation to games, works his ass off for various charities and foundations (some of which he has started), and is utterly down to earth. He is a fan of rock and roll (and indie) music. Basically, he is a hero for someone like me. Also, I’m friends with him, so I want to see him do well.”
Bonner’s brother Luke has also taken up the cause; according to his Twitter page, he is appearing on NBA TV today to speak about the #letbonnershoot movement. Whether any of this will actually make a difference is unclear at this point, though short of reviving the ghost of 1988 Larry Bird, this could be one of the things the league could do to make the 3-point contest intriguing again.