Two men died for us to get this completely legitimate, super-undoctored photo: The poor guy who tried to serve Anthony Bonner with a subpoena, and Armand Assante.
It’s possible that this is well-worn territory, but I hadn’t heard anything about this at all before some random searching dropped it in my lap, and when more determined Web scrounging after the fact turned up precious little, too, it seemed too good to pass up.
I don’t really know how I wound up looking at the comments on the Dec. 15, 2008, Knicks/Suns game thread at KnickerBlogger (by the way, congratulations, guys!), but while there, I saw this:
Wait, WHAT? Anthony Bonner — #4 in your programs, #1 in your hearts; the man the Sacramento Kings took with the 23rd overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft (one slot before Dwayne Schintzius!); one of the many thuggish defensive bigs on the ’93-’94 and ’94-’95 Knicks teams that introduced me to basketball (and prevented me from truly loving the game until more than a decade later) — was served a subpoena on the bench during a preseason game? You’re not the only one who needs more info, Jcon.
A quick search on 1050 ESPN’s Web site led me to ESPN Radio’s Podcenter page, where I found that JVG showed up on the Dec. 16, 2008, episode of “Tirico & Van Pelt.” You can listen to the audio here — the relevant portion starts around the 27:00 mark, with Van Gundy talking about the Spurs’ chances of making a title run, which the former Knicks and Rockets coach thinks have been dramatically improved by the injuries San Antono suffered in the early going. Here’s my unofficial transcript:
JEFF VAN GUNDY: … I think George Hill, their first-round pick from this year, has played very well, and now is a very solid backup guard. I think they signed Roger Mason from the Wizards, I think was an understated loss to the Wizards and is now an understated benefit for the Spurs. It gives them more firepower. I think that allows them to play Bruce Bowen only when they need a defensive stopper, because if they don’t have somebody that really needs to be stopped on the wing, you put Mason on the floor, and you have more offense. And then Anth … uh, Anthony Bonner, um, Bonner …
MIKE TIRICO: Matt Bonner, Matt Bonner.
VAN GUNDY: Matt Bonner. I used to have a guy Anthony Bonner …
TIRICO: We remember him well. (laughs)
SCOTT VAN PELT: I remember him, yeah. (laughs)
VAN GUNDY: He doesn’t shoot quite as good …
VAN PELT: Not as well as Matt Bonner, no. (laughs)
VAN GUNDY: But he did defend and play with energy, and he’s the only player I ever coached that was served a subpoena on the bench in an exhibition game. (emph. mine)
(Tirico and Van Pelt both start cracking up)
VAN GUNDY: And he was so smart — I guess you have to accept it with your hands …
TIRICO: Right. (ED. NOTE: Something you’re not telling us, Mike?)
VAN GUNDY: But when he saw it, he just put his hands up and they couldn’t give it to him. It just fell to the ground, I-I don’t, you know … So, that showed me he had great experience, but I’m not sure the right experience.
(Hosts’ laughter rises a notch)
VAN GUNDY: Anyway, Matt Bonner …
VAN PELT (interrupting): No one cares about Matt Bonner at this point! No one’s even listening to your point about Matt Bonner, I’m sorry! We want to know what the hell Anthony Bonner did!
VAN GUNDY: I have no idea. I have no idea. I threw up my hands when he threw up his hands.
Yeah, that’s fucking nuts. And that’s also about it, information-wise: Bonner’s sparse Wikipedia page mentions the ESPN Radio incident, which has apparently been turned into a station spot, though JVG’s name is omitted in the entry. Nothing else of consequence on Google, and a LexisNexis search turns up nathans.
According to the Wikipedia page, Bonner is now the head basketball coach at Vashon High School in St. Louis, Mo., where he played his high school ball before heading to St. Louis University and then the pros. A call to Vashon seeking comment after school hours on Friday (which is pretty much the least ideal time to learn about anything, from a pseudo-journalistic perspective) went unanswered, and the school either doesn’t have a voice mail system or it wasn’t picking up. An e-mail was also sent Friday to Gregory Allen, listed on Vashon’s Web site as the school’s contact; that, too, has not yet been answered. If I get any responses, I’ll update the post.