Lost in the hoopla of LINsanity and the homecoming of Corey Joseph was the return of a former Raptor whose time in Toronto was ever so memorable.
Matt Bonner has been back to the ACC many times since he was traded away to San Antonio for Rasho Nesterovic in one of Bryan Colangelo’s first moves as GM of the Raptors. But it’s always such a pleasure to see him back in town and doing well with San Antonio.
It’s hard to argue that move wasn’t beneficial for both teams as Nesterovic enjoyed a long successful tenure with the Raps, but Bonner was something special and has been greatly missed since his departure.
He became part of the city when he was here. Riding the TTC to games, and practices and becoming a fan favourite with his energy off the bench and penchant for a big three pointer every now and then.
He was here in the city during the Golden age of Toronto basketball. Vince Carter and Chris Bosh were the centrepieces and Bonner was a solid big off the bench. He helped the team during some of it’s brightest times and was here, just before Colangelo arrived, during the franchise’s darkest hour.
Bonner, while in Toronto, provided the fans with a reason to cheer. He was an unknown at the time and played hard to earn his minutes. Minutes he conitnues to earn with San Antonio.
Fans loved not only the way he played but the way he embraced this city and country. He married a Canadian girl and has been trying every which way to become a Canadian citizen so that he can represent this country in the World Championships and Olympic qualifying. Sure is nice to see an NBA player doing everything he can to dawn the Red and White.
It was no surprise that when Matt Bonner checked into the game last night he received a warm, warm welcome from his second home. It wasn’t his first trip back to town, but the fans here will always welcome him as one of their own.
Toronto misses Matt Bonner. On the court and off of it.
They could use his energy and fight off the bench and could certainly use his three point shooting (an area the Raptors have struggles with this season). Not that the All Star selection commitee noticed,, as Bonner was once again a glaring omission from the Three Point challenge.
A return to Toronto for Bonner would be something special for the fans, but alas he has a multi-year deal in San Antonio. One he greatly deserves and worked hard to get.
Still his legacy remains. Every time I see a sign for the TTC or pass by Red Rocket Coffee on my way to work I think fondly on Bonner’s time in Toronto.
For now Raptor fans will have to enjoy Bonner in small doses when he comes to town with the Spurs, which isn’t very often. The Spurs only visit to the ACC was last night.
Hopefully fans get to see him in a different Red and White uniform soon enough, if and when he eventually suits up for Canada.
Zan Tabak Herald