January 16, 2013
National Basketball Association
645 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10022
To Whom It May Concern,
Growing up in New Hampshire, my siblings and I spent countless hours at the Concord Family YMCA fantasizing that we were competing in the NBA three-point contest. We’d each do our best Larry Bird impression by pointing one finger in the air and walking away before the ball even stroked the net.
All three of us went on to play college and professional basketball. Opposing team’s scouting reports always labeled us as three-point threats. My sister and I peaked overseas, whereas my brother Matt is currently competing in his ninth season in the NBA. This season, Matt finds himself in a legitimate position to participate in the league’s three-point contest.
I’m writing this letter hoping it reaches someone who might have authority over the selection process of this year’s NBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout in Houston. Whoever you are, I’d like to suggest that you please, finally give Matt a chance to showcase his long-range abilities for the entire world to see.
Since entering the NBA, Matt has made a name for himself as a deadly three-point shooter. Two seasons ago, he led the league in three-point field goal percentage at 45.7%. Some people might argue that his percentage is skewed, as he doesn’t have as many attempts as others. However, there are plenty of other players who shoot the same number of threes as Matt (and many who shoot more), but you don’t see their long-range percentage anywhere near Matt’s. I would also argue that maintaining a higher percentage is more difficult when you’re only getting a few attempts per game; it’s harder to find a rhythm. That being said, in that same 2010-11 season, of the top 10 three-point percentage shooters, only five averaged more made three-pointers per game than Matt. Last season, Matt was red-hot (no pun intended) going into All-Star Break with the highest three-point field goal percentage before finishing 12th overall in the league, and averaged more made three-point field goals per game than six of the top 10 long-range shooters. He was doing more with less opportunity.
As I write this letter, he once again finds himself leading the league in this category at 47.4% (as he has the past few seasons going into the All-Star Break). Certainly, he’s qualified to participate in the competition, yet he has never been selected.
The question is: why not?
For the first few years of his career, there was an understanding that he would need to prove himself as a lasting NBA player before he would deserve consideration for this competition. Now, he’s in his ninth season and stands 12th all-time in three-point field goal percentage (fifth amongst active players). He’s paid his dues and proven his worth as a contributor to one of the most successful franchises in professional sports, the San Antonio Spurs.
Some people might suggest that Matt “isn’t marketable” enough, so why put him on center stage? Well, in a league with an abundance of players wearing fluorescent sneakers and nonprescription post-game glasses, Matt manages to differentiate himself. By playing in New Balance sneakers and wearing post-game corduroy jackets, he has developed his own easily recognizable personal brand and stands out more than most.
In fact, last year, a student in Texas risked suspension from school by getting Matt’s likeness shaved into the back of his head. This haircut made national news. I don’t have a sports almanac near me, but I’m pretty sure Matt is the only player in the history of the game to have that happen.
Furthermore, though Matt has yet to be referenced in a Lil Wayne song, he has inspired the likes of The War On Drugs to launch a “Let Bonner Shoot” campaign. They’re creating a movement to prevent Matt from being overlooked again, because they believe it’s what the people want.
Ultimately, the three-point contest is about the BEST long-range shooters. In a three-point contest, everyone is given an equal number of opportunities. Matt may not get as many minutes as Steph Curry, and maybe his YouTube videos aren’t quite as funny as Kevin Love’s (yes, they are), but when it comes down to who can hit the most three-point shots out of twenty-five basketballs, Matt would clearly be the favorite. And, isn’t that what everyone would want in a three-point contest, anyway—the most buckets?
So, this is my plea. I’m laying the sibling rivalry stereotypes to rest, and I’m putting myself out there to stand up for my big brother. For my family, being named one of the competitors in the NBA three-point contest is the highest honor one could receive (you don’t have to worry about considering Matt for the dunk contest).
Please select Matt for the NBA Three-Point Shootout. He deserves a shot on the grandest three-point stage the world has to offer.
And, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, some young kid might dream a little bigger while doing his/her best Matt Bonner impression—firing up the last three of the day, giving an emphatic fist pump, and walking away before the ball even strokes the net.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
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