It’s official. The NBA will #LetBonnerShoot.
Buoyed by a grassroots social media campaign, Spurs forward Matt Bonner has — at long last — been named to the field for the NBA’s annual 3-point shootout to be held All-Star weekend in Houston.
His first appearance in the long-distance showcase is the fulfillment of a career-long wish for Bonner, a lifetime 41.5-percent 3-point shooter who nevertheless had been passed over for eight straight seasons.
Now that he’s in the Feb. 16 shootout, his entrance formalized by league announcement Thursday, Bonner has just one goal remaining.
“I hope I’m not so excited I airball the entire first round,” Bonner said.
Call it a victory for the digital age.
Using the hashtag #LetBonnerShoot, the Twitter movement was the brainchild of Bonner’s younger brother, Luke, and David Hartley, bass player for the indie rock band War on Drugs.
It became a minor Internet sensation, drawing high-profile support from the likes of actress Eva Longoria, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and members of Arcade Fire, another Bonner-approved musical act.
After being shut out of the contest in 2010-11, when he led the NBA in 3-point accuracy at 45.7 percent, Bonner largely had abandoned hope of being invited. He credits the #LetBonnerShoot campaign for raising awareness.
“I guarantee nobody in the history of the 3-point contest has been as excited as I am to be there,” Bonner said. “I don’t know how I’m going to sleep between now and then.”
Joining Bonner in the Feb. 16 contest from the Eastern Conference are Indiana’s Paul George, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and New York’s Steve Novak, a one-time Spur. The other West participants are New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson and Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
Bonner earned his first 3-point invitation despite averaging just 1.8 attempts per game, the fewest since his first season with the Spurs (2006-07). He is connecting at a 41.2-percent clip, which would rank 15th in the league if he had enough attempts to qualify.
Happy Bonner given 3-point contest berth
San Antonio Express-News | Feb 8