Issue 42: Cool Cats: The NBA’s Most Feared Sandwich Eater

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Can you believe we’re just a few days away from the NBA’s opening season? I sure can’t, but good thing the league doesn’t depend on my belief to get rolling.

We’ll have some fun league previews and trivia next week, but for now, we’re talking about something much easier to digest: sandwiches.

That’s right — today’s edition of Cool Cats is all about Matt Bonner, the NBA’s all-time king of sandwiches. Let’s snack!

This Man Sure Does Like Sandwiches

Matt Bonner is one of the few NBA players from New Hampshire, also known as the “Don’t Confuse Us with Vermont” State.

Bonner played in 792 games and made 797 career three-pointers, which is almost an impressive one three per game ratio. I’ve never seen someone have such a ratio, so I applaud the effort. And Bonner’s hunger for sinking shots on the basketball court is rivaled only by his hunger for sinking his teeth into sandwiches.

During his playing days, he hosted a blog on the Spurs website, The Sandwich Hunter: The Quest for the Hoagie Grail. Sadly, the blog is now defunct since Bonner retired, but we have plenty of memories. And Bonner still regularly posts sandwich updates to his Twitter account.

Matt Bonner Sandwich

He Has a Fabulous Nickname, Too

Most NBA players have nicknames, sometimes many of them. For example, Michael Jordan is referred to as His Airness, and Shaquille O’Neal is Diesel or The Big Aristotle, or any play on the word Shaq (my personal favorite: Shaqtus).

But only one player has the desirable nickname “Red Rocket,” and that’s Matt Bonner.

Bonner, a Concord, New Hampshire native, made the NBA on a wild journey. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls, then traded to the Toronto Raptors, who essentially said, “go play overseas for a year because we don’t have any roster space for you. But we pinky promise that you’ll be on the team next year. Just trust us.”

And in an amazing show of a business following through on a promise, Bonner suited up in all 82 games for the Raptors, the only rookie in franchise history to play in every single game.

However, most NBA fans will know Bonner from his time on the San Antonio Spurs. He won a championship his first year in San Antonio and earned another in 2014 as he played his final ten seasons with the Spurs.

A Strong Brotherly Bond

Matt’s brother Luke also played professional basketball, and spent a couple of seasons in the G-League on the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ developmental team (sort of like baseball’s minor leagues).

Since Luke played on the team, the Austin Toros have now changed their name to the Austin Spurs, which is not at all confusing to residents of both Austin and San Antonio.

It’s important to bond with your siblings and the Bonners do a great job of that, especially since they have a nonprofit — the Rock On Foundation — that looks to support the community in arts and athletics.

On top of that, when Bonner retired from the Spurs, in place of retiring a jersey number, the team retired his signature flannel shirt. They have a great sense of humor down there in San Antonio.

The Crisp Bounce Pass Holiday Corner

Perhaps you’re like me and didn’t quite realize the holiday season is upon us. And maybe, also like me, you’re scrambling for some last-minute gift ideas.

Well, I’ve got you covered. For the rest of the month, this section will provide a pair of hoops-themed gift ideas for your enjoyment.

Grab them as a gift for someone else or snag ’em for yourself. And if you have any must-have suggestions, send them my way!

SociaLaughs Card Games

Founded in 2017, SociaLaughs is a black owned and operated organization dedicated to providing trendsetting entertainment. They’ve created five different card games so far: Passport to the Hood, Passport to the Hood #TrapEdition, Passport to the Hood #FedsWatching, CELEBSAID, and Story of My Life.

These games are fun and certain to get some solid discussions going. One of the cards features a question asking who the greatest basketball player of all-time is, but if hoops aren’t your thing a) I appreciate you still subscribing to this newsletter and b) most questions have nothing to do with basketball.

For example, Passport to the Hood has a question about what you might experience if you try to go to McDonald’s after 10 p.m. (my answer: the milkshake machine is “broken”), while CELEBSAID is all about who said famous quotes.

It’s like playing Cards Against Humanity, only if Cards Against Humanity was a fun game with questions that make you laugh AND think. Pick up one deck or snag a combo pack from the SociaLaughs site and make your next virtual happy hour far more entertaining.

No Dunks Gear

No Dunks is one of my favorite podcasts. You can find plenty of talk about basketball but they’ll also do fun things like debate the dream sitcom team, whether Air Bud is a good movie, and spit out puns faster than…well, some kind of pun-spitter. It’s glorious.

They’ve also got some snazzy gear to rock, too. The shirts and hoodies are COMFY, and when the weather outside is frightful, that makes you feel like a million bucks.

They often donate the proceeds from this merch to deserving charities, as well. ‘Tis the season for giving, after all (even though they’ve donated throughout the year). Love to see it.

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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