Matt Bonner is weird.
Really, he is—but not in a bad way. Bonner’s brand of oddness is probably more comparable to the Dos Equis guy than anything else.
On the court, his unconventional three-point shot has given him a long and successful career with the San Antonio Spurs. Off the floor, the Red Rocket is one of, if not the, most interesting man in the NBA.
The 35-year-old recently partnered with a New Hampshire-based company called Gemr, which is a "growing social marketplace for collectors with niche or unique collections. Imagine Antiques Roadshow for the internet, for people to post collections, meet others with similar interest, and determine how much their things are worth with experts on the platform."
How did this happen? The New Hampshire connection played a role. The Gemr peeps knew Matt’s brother Luke and he contacted Matt, who hails from Concord.
He has been with Gemr just for a month, and VP of Marketing Norm Archer raved about Bonner’s influence, saying that he’s given the company a face while also "represent[ing] the everyman."
TNT’s Rachel Nichols, ESPN’s Jemele Hill and others have discussed their interest in collecting with Matt, so he’s definitely been active.
Bonner’s affinity for collecting started long before this partnership, though.
"I’ve always collected stuff growing up," Bonner said in a phone interview. "I used to be into basketball cards, and I’d save up and buy packs and try to get my favorite players. As an adult, I’ve gotten into funny T-shirts. It drives my wife crazy."
Whenever he goes out on the road with the Spurs, Bonner is constantly searching for funny shirts or record stores, as collecting vinyl is another passion of his.
"I just like collecting whatever interests me," he said. "The chase is just as fun."
Bonner’s favorite vinyl—"Stakes is High" by De La Soul—required quite a chase, and it didn’t come easily.
"I could never find it," Bonner said. "Whenever we got free time on the road, I’d look up record stores and look. It took five years, but eventually I found it in Portland, Oregon."
Are Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker or any other Spurs into this sort of thing?
"Honestly, I don’t know," Bonner said. "I would assume they do [collect], but it isn’t something that’s openly discussed. … I’ll bring it up this year and find out for you."
Bonner’s answer to a question about Gregg Popovich’s collecting habits was much more concrete.
He also described Pop, who has sometimes been described as grouchy, as "one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Well-read. Worldly."
But c’mon. Some of his teammates have to be at least kind of strange, right? Most casual fans would think so.
Duncan, Parker and Bonner have gone to Comic Con in San Antonio together in the past. They hung out with the cast from The Walking Dead as well as former WWE wrestler, X-Pac.
Everyone seems a bit quirky. There’s just not a single biggest oddball on the roster.
"Well, we have a bunch of new guys," Bonner said. "Everybody has a unique personality, so it’s hard to single out for one guy." Bonner added that he thinks the team’s uniqueness has helped make the Spurs as dominant as they’ve been.
In addition to gathering shirts and vinyl records, Bonner also had a serious collection of New Balance shoes. But since his move to Adidas, the Red Rocket’s supply of NBs has dwindled.
When told that there are some New Balance collections on Gemr, Bonner went into general manager mode.
"I’m gonna have to see if I can make a trade," he said. "I need some."
His greatest and most valuable collection comes in the form of playoff experience and, of course, jewelry. Since joining the Spurs in 2006-07, the Red Mamba has been a part of two championship runs and has totaled 1,034 career minutes in the postseason.
Is that collection going to keep on growing in 2015-16? After all, San Antonio did bring in LaMarcus Aldridge, one of the NBA's most versatile and dominant all-around bigs, this past summer.
The team is widely predicted to be one of the league’s best.
"I’m going to give you the boring answer," Bonner commented on San Antonio’s chance of coming out of the West. "But it’s the truth. The West is a really tough conference. We’ll have a chance, but we have to embrace the process and can’t skip steps."
Wait…Bonner got boring? Huh?
That's right. He—and the rest of the Spurs, for that matter—understand that chasing old hip-hop records, visiting T-shirt shops, searching for the perfect sandwich and hanging out with the TWD cast is fun, but doesn’t result in on-court success.
Even when the players are weird, boring basketball still wins.
All quotes obtained firsthand. Follow @TJDhoops on Twitter.