Analysts on ESPN and the like spend all day shouting at each other in an effort to establish their opinion as the only valid one because questions like these are not easy to answer until the series is over (and they have inflated egos, but that's besides the point). They’ve missed one important question, though, primarily because it only pertains to the Finals in a tangential way and doesn't matter too much in the grand scheme of things: Does Spurs forward Matt Bonner have the NBA’s best taste in music?
Let me explain: During the 2009-2010 season, the sharpshooting redhead took advantage of all the travel involved in the NBA schedule to go on a personal quest: to find the best sandwiches in the country. He visited sandwich shops across the nation and wrote comprehensive and entertaining posts about his adventures for the Spurs website.
The reason “The Quest for the Hoagie Grail,” as he called it, matters is that at the end of each article, he chooses a song of the day, most of which are a fantastic slice of indie rock, folk and a few oddities. In a league full of hip-hop fans, Bonner proudly proclaims in his first article that Bloomington, Indiana is home to Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian, two of his favorite record labels that are home to indie acts like Okkervil River and Animal Collective. It’s no secret that Bonner loves indie: here’s a video of him doing work on Arcade Fire’s Win Butler after losing to him in a 3-point competition:
Not only is it a breath of fresh air to see there is variety in NBA musical taste, but a lot of his picks are great songs most of us may not have heard otherwise. I compiled all 40 songs in a YouTube playlist, but here are just a few highlights from Matt Bonner’s music collection:
This mellow-yet-jaunty indie folk tune and its parent album, Deer Tick’s 2007 debut War Elephant, are the perfect soundtrack for gazing at fireflies from your porch on a lethargic summer evening.
An appearance from alternative hip-hop duo The Cool Kids seems like a surprise entry on this list, but you can’t blame Bonner: It’s catchy and modern but not too grandiose and complex like a lot of today’s hip-hop often tries to be.
Part of Bonner’s Song of the Day segment featured a countdown of his favorite 60’s songs, and this less obvious but fantastic tune, the first track from Crosby, Stills & Nash’s self-titled debut album, was his choice to represent the group.
This cover of Coldplay’s hit is taken from the 2008 documentary “Young@Heart,” which follows the struggles of a senior vocal group as their try to learn a new set of songs to perform for a local concert. It’s hard to say this version is more emotional than Coldplay’s original, but it’s also hard not to.