Jonathan Bender
Personal information
Born (1981-01-30) January 30, 1981 (age 41)
Picayune, Mississippi
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High schoolPicayune Memorial
(Picayune, Mississippi)
NBA draft1999 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall
Selected by the Toronto Raptors
Playing career1999–2010
PositionSmall forward
Number24, 9
Career history
19992006Indiana Pacers
2009–2010New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points1,453 (5.5 ppg)
Rebounds582 (2.2 rpg)
Assists170 (0.6 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Jonathan Rene Bender (born January 30, 1981) is an American former professional basketball player who played for the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A highly-touted 6’11 prospect who mostly played shooting guard in high school, Bender’s unusual height and potential garnered much attention leading up to the 1999 NBA Draft.[1][2] After playing 78 games for the Pacers in 2001, knee injuries limited him to a combined 76 games over the next four seasons. He played 25 games for the Knicks in 2009 before his retirement.

Professional career

Indiana Pacers (1999–2006)

Bender was selected with the fifth pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1999 NBA Draft out of Picayune Memorial High School in Picayune, Mississippi despite a verbal commitment to Mississippi State University.[1] The Raptors then traded Bender to the Indiana Pacers for Antonio Davis. Being hyped for his size, athleticism and all around skill, Bender scored 10 points in 13 minutes against Cleveland on December 10, 1999. He became the first high school draftee to score in double figures in his NBA debut, which was an instance repeated only two other times (four if you expand the range to those that played in the league while still being 18 years old at the time of their debuts).[3] However, Bender had been plagued by injuries ever since he arrived in Indiana.

Playing in 78 games in the 2001–02 season, he signed a four-year, $28.5 million contract extension. However, the next few years were plagued by injuries. He played in only 46 games the following season, then 21 games in the season after that. A persistent sore right knee limited him to just seven games in 2004–05 and two games in 2005–06. He was waived by the Pacers on June 14, 2006. At that point, he had averaged 5.6 points in 237 career regular season games.[4] In 2005, Bender was rated by Sports Illustrated as #11 on the list of the 20 biggest busts in modern NBA draft history.[5]

Highlights of Bender's career as a Pacer included participating in the Slam Dunk competition during 2001’s All-Star weekend, where he executed a Julius Erving-style tomahawk jam from the free throw line, left-handed. In the Pacers' 2004 playoff series with the Celtics, Bender led the Pacers in scoring in game 3, and set personal playoff career bests in rebounds and minutes in game 2. That post season overall, Bender posted a career high 12.5 minutes played per game over 16 games. Despite a lack of personal statistical success given his initial expectations, the Pacers made the postseason every year of Bender’s tenure.[6]

New York Knicks (2009–2010)

On December 13, 2009, the New York Knicks signed Bender to a minimum contract. "Jonathan has worked extremely hard in preparing himself for a return to the NBA," said Donnie Walsh, Knicks President of Basketball Operations.[7] In 25 appearances, Bender averaged 4.7 points in 11.7 minutes per game. But especially notably, Knicks coaches believed he showed great improvement in practice as the season progressed. The Knicks wanted him to return the following season on a one year deal, but Bender declined saying “it just felt like I’d be going backwards.” Bender then officially retired to focus on his business career.[8]

Coaching career

Bender currently coaches in the greater Houston area with the private coaching service, CoachUp.[9]

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1999–00 Indiana 24 1 5.4 .329 .167 .667 .9 .1 .0 .2 2.7
2000–01 Indiana 59 7 9.7 .355 .268 .735 1.3 .5 .1 .5 3.3
2001–02 Indiana 78 17 21.1 .430 .360 .733 3.1 .8 .2 .6 7.4
2002–03 Indiana 46 2 17.8 .441 .358 .714 2.9 .9 .2 1.2 6.6
2003–04 Indiana 21 0 12.9 .472 .409 .830 1.9 .4 .2 .5 7.0
2004–05 Indiana 7 0 13.3 .400 .200 .500 2.0 .6 .1 .3 5.1
2005–06 Indiana 2 0 10.5 .800 .000 1.000 2.0 1.0 .0 .5 5.0
2009–10 New York 25 1 11.7 .400 .359 .923 2.1 .6 .1 .7 4.7
Career 262 28 14.7 .417 .340 .763 2.2 .6 .2 .6 5.5

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2000 Indiana 9 0 2.3 .667 1.000 .500 .3 .0 .1 .0 1.3
2001 Indiana 1 0 4.0 .000 .000 .000 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
2002 Indiana 5 0 9.2 .500 .000 .000 .8 .4 .4 .6 1.2
2003 Indiana 3 0 11.3 .333 .333 .667 2.3 .0 .0 .7 5.7
2004 Indiana 16 0 12.6 .406 .360 .750 1.8 .4 .1 .9 4.8
Career 43 0 7.6 .454 .361 .679 1.0 .2 .1 .4 2.6

Personal life

Bender was known to read while on NBA road trips. He mostly read business books, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan being two authors he specifically liked.[1]

Bender invented the JB Intensive Trainer, a resistance training device, that strengthened his knees. Sales of the device began in July 2013.[10]

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, Bender founded the nonprofit Jonathan Bender Foundation in New Orleans.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "After crumbled career, former Pacer Jonathan Bender finds redemption".
  2. ^ https://www.si.com/nba/2014/07/31/jonathan-bender-life-after-nba was unusual
  3. ^ a b "Bender helping hurricane victims recover, rebuild". Sports.espn.go.com. 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  4. ^ "Months after announcing retirement, Bender waived", Espn.go.com; accessed June 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Photo Gallery – NBA Draft Busts, Si.com; accessed June 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "Jonathan Bender Stats | Basketball-Reference.com".
  7. ^ "Knicks sign former Raptors pick Bender to contract". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  8. ^ "Former first-round pick Jonathan Bender goes from NBA to inventor".
  9. ^ www.coachup.com/coaches/jonathanb-49
  10. ^ Lawrence, Andrew (June 16, 2014). "Off-Court Rebound". Fortune: 30.