View Full Version : Jonathan Bender, the first "Next Kevin Garnett", wants to come back

Mateen Cleaves
07-28-2009, 07:39 AM
Bender plots NBA comeback
By Anna K. Clemmons

Former Indiana Pacers teen prodigy Jonathan Bender is plotting an NBA comeback after a injury-forced retirement.

Bender left the Pacers midway through the 2005-06 season because of persistent knee troubles that limited him to just 237 games in seven NBA seasons. But he recently revealed his intent to put a growing business career on hold to give professional basketball one more shot.

"My potential is still enormous and I can still do a lot for a team," Bender told ESPN.com. "If it happens, then everything flows. And if it doesn't, at least I tried."

Now 28, Bender has developed various entrepreneurial ventures in Houston and New Orleans. When asked in March 2008 if he missed playing basketball, Bender replied by saying it was a "tough question."

That question, though, has since been answered.

"I thought about it last year for last season, but I was still doing a lot of learning and having fun with my various projects," Bender said by phone over the weekend.

The No. 5 overall pick in the 1999 draft said he was encouraged by cousin Morris Peterson of the New Orleans Hornets and various friends to make a comeback.

"I didn't want the windows to close on me," Bender said. "I wanted the opportunity to fight off the demons inside my head ... I read these articles that say, 'He's the top bust' or 'He's one of the guys who didn't live up to their potential.' I don't want to be 38 or 40 looking back thinking, 'I should've done this.' "

Bender said he also wants to be an example to children that "nothing is impossible" no matter how bad one's injuries are.

Drafted fifth overall out of high school by the Toronto Raptors, who then traded his rights to the Pacers, Bender signed a three-year, $7 million contract in 1999.

Following the 2001-02 season, Bender then received a four-year, $28.5 million contract extension from Indiana. But recurring knee problems prevented him from establishing himself even after the Pacers began to rebuild the veteran team he joined initially.

Bender averaged just 5.6 points in his career. When he announced his retirement in February 2006, the Pacers said the remainder of Bender's contract would be paid out through an insurance policy.

As for his damaged left knee, where cartilage was removed, Bender insists that there are no lingering problems after considerable therapy and training. Bender believes that the years of rest paid off in giving his knees a "break" from basketball, which he hadn't experienced since he was 12 or 13. He gradually began to work out again and over the past six months has trained six days a week alongside Olympic high jumping gold medalist Charles Austin, who has also dealt with knee injuries.

Austin trains Bender through a track-and-field approach while incorporating a method of running that Bender says takes a lot of the pressure off of his knees. They also focus on agility work, biometrics and aerodynamics.


07-28-2009, 08:09 AM
Favorite ko yan sa NBA live dati. :D

08-20-2009, 08:53 AM
Whatever became of this story...?

Gameface is Philippine Basketball

10-04-2009, 05:05 PM
I have not heard Jonathan Bender right now. I hope he will play under Chicago Bulls organization or may be San Antonio Spurs. :)

web hosting (http://www.webmasterztoolbox.com)

Mateen Cleaves
12-14-2009, 09:08 AM
Whatever became of this story...?

The story continues, appararently...

Knicks sign free agent forward Jonathan Bender from Yahoo! http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=ArKSRuxsZrObhJmChBKWdsC8vLYF?slug=ap-knicks-bender&prov=ap&type=lgns

NEW YORK (AP)—The New York Knicks have signed free agent Jonathan Bender, marking the oft-injured forward’s return to the NBA after a three-year absence. Knicks president Donnie Walsh announced the move in a statement Sunday.

The 7-foot Bender enjoyed his best season in 2001-02, when he averaged career highs of 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 78 games. But injuries forced Bender to miss 172 games over the next three seasons before chronic knee pain sidelined him indefinitely in February 2006. Bender was selected out of high school by Toronto with the fifth overall pick in the 1999 draft and was acquired by Indiana in a trade on Aug. 1, 1999. He formed a relationship with former Pacers president Walsh during their time together in Indiana.

“Jonathan has worked extremely hard in preparing himself for a return to the NBA,” Walsh said in the statement. “I know him to be a young man of the highest character from my relationship with him that dates back 10 years to his rookie year and I think he will be a fine addition to our team both on and off the court.”