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Thread: Is Bender healed?

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    Default Is Bender healed?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/25/sp...tml?ref=sports
    Can’t-Miss Prospect Who Did Returns at 28




    By HOWARD BECK
    Published: December 24, 2009
    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Jonathan Bender was the quiet one, introspective and inconspicuous, despite his sinewy 7-foot frame and his outlandish skills. The impromptu dunk contest was not his idea

    Barton Silverman/The New York Times
    Jonathan Bender has been reunited with Donnie Walsh, the Knicks’ president, who traded for Bender in Indiana in 1999.



    The Indiana Pacers had just finished practice, and one of the veterans wondered if anyone could dunk from the foul line. Jeff Foster, a rookie center, was the first to convert, albeit running full speed from halfcourt.
    Coach Larry Bird then turned toward the soft-spoken teenager from Picayune, Miss.: Hey Bender, what about you?
    Bender hopped up, jogged toward the foul line and launched himself.
    “He took off, jumped with the ball in his right hand, in midair switched to his left hand and did a windmill dunk from the free-throw line,” Bird recalled with a hearty laugh. “I couldn’t believe it.”
    Ten years ago, the practice court was a playground, a studio for Bender’s athletic artistry. He soared over the rim. He traded 3-pointers with Bird and Reggie Miller. He drew comparisons to Kevin Garnett, another teen wunderkind with a center’s height and a guard’s skills.
    “Of all the guys I’ve ever seen in this league, in 20-plus years, in terms of basketball ability he’s in the top 1 or 2 percent,” said Dallas Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle, who was Bird’s top assistant in Indiana.
    If not for chronic knee problems, Bender might be padding a Hall of Fame résumé by now. Instead, he is methodically resurrecting his career, one jump shot at a time, with the rebuilding Knicks.
    After four years away from the N.B.A., Bender returned 12 days ago to begin an improbable comeback at age 28. He is bigger and stronger now, and more vulnerable to gravity. But his jumper has lost none of its silkiness.
    Bender scored 20 points over his first two games, in just 29 minutes. He made his first four 3-point attempts and drove confidently to the basket. His third game was cut short because of a cranky hip, leaving him questionable for the Knicks’ game against Miami on Friday. The injury is not considered serious. But Bender’s caution is understandable.
    When he retired in February 2006, Bender could hardly walk a flight of stairs without intense pain. He had lost most of his cartilage in both knees and had played in just 30 games over his final two and a half seasons. But he never fully surrendered.
    “I had in my mind, ‘It ain’t over,’ ” Bender said of his thinking on the day he left the N.B.A. “ ‘I’m going to try it again some day.’ ”
    His journey back is filled with the same sense of wonder and inspiration that once accompanied his dunks.
    Over the last four years, Bender has recast himself as a businessman and philanthropist — “a social entrepreneur,” in his words — primarily in New Orleans, not far from his hometown, Picayune.
    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bender worked with developers and nonprofit groups to restore more than 30 damaged homes. He adopted a flood-ravaged school in Kenner, La., in an impoverished neighborhood near the airport. He had the school library renovated and restocked with new books and computers. He paid for holiday parties and distributed hundreds of presents at Christmas.
    “He’s always been a big-hearted person,” said Bender’s sister, Valerie McDowell, who also works for him.
    The goal is not just charity, Bender said, but empowerment. He is working with local nonprofit groups and a program at Dillard University to help low-income families eventually purchase the homes he has renovated.
    “They learn about budgets, they learn about their credit score and all that stuff,” Bender said. “And then months down the line, maybe years down the line, after they pass those classes and get themselves in order, now we partner up with a bank so they can purchase the house.”
    Bender calls this “social self-empowerment.”
    “We have to take responsibility to empower them mentally and financially and educate them on how to actually own a house,” he said.
    Bender, who never attended college, acquired his business skills solely through hands-on work and an inquisitive mind. He read books and sought out mentor figures. He met with bank presidents and asked a lot of questions.
    “I felt dumb, but I learned a lot,” he said. “And I started understanding exactly what they were saying.”
    None of this comes as a surprise to the teammates and coaches who worked with Bender during his six and a half seasons in Indiana. Donnie Walsh, who was then running the Pacers, had assembled a group of former high school stars: Bender, Al Harrington and Jermaine O’Neal, each of them bursting with talent and expectations. The three became fast friends. But Bender was different.
    “Quiet dude,” said Harrington, now a teammate on the Knicks. “Very serious about his business.”
    Carlisle described Bender as pensive and reserved, despite his flashiness on the floor.
    “He was not extravagant with spending and those kinds of things,” Carlisle said. “For a kid that was a direct-from-high-school player, he had a wisdom and I guess sort of an awareness of life that was beyond his years.”
    Walsh traded Antonio Davis, a valued veteran center, to acquire Bender from the Toronto Raptors, who made him the fifth pick in the 1999 draft. It was the highest any high school star had been drafted to that point, and Bender had the background to justify it.
    He averaged 23.1 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 assists in high school and scored 31 points in 31 minutes in the McDonald’s All-American Game, breaking a record held by Michael Jordan.
    In his early practices with the Pacers, Bender routinely made plays — a rebound, a block, a dunk — that left teammates awestruck.
    “The other guys would stop and go, ‘Did you see what he just did?’ ” said Walsh, who is now the Knicks’ president. “The whole team would stop.”
    In his N.B.A. debut, Bender scored 10 points in 13 minutes, helping the Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. But like most teenage stars, he needed time to grow and adapt to the N.B.A. game and played sparingly as a rookie.
    There were flashes of greatness in his second year, including a 20-point, 5-rebound, 4-block game against Orlando, in just 24 minutes. He scored 19 points in 19 minutes in a 2004 playoff victory over Boston, and helped lock down Paul Pierce.
    But injuries defined most of Bender’s career. He missed 36 games in 2002-3 because of a torn calf muscle. His knee problems, which began in high school, became more debilitating over time. Bender played just 21 games in 2003-4 and 7 the next season. He played only two games in 2005-6 before retiring.
    “It was heartbreaking for everyone,” Carlisle said.
    Bender began plotting his return about a year and a half ago. He invented his own resistance training device, Bender Bands (which are now under development at Purdue University), to help strengthen and balance his legs. He also began working with Charles Austin, the former Olympic high jumper, who overcame his own knee problems to win the gold medal in 1996. Bender said he had compensated for the lack of cartilage with an abundance of muscle.
    Bender made more than $30 million with the Pacers and has managed his money well. He does not need the N.B.A. for fame or riches or self-fulfillment. Yet here he is, spending hours in the weight room and on the court, working on that picture-perfect jumper, trying to wring another game, another month, another season out of a once-promising career.
    There are no lofty goals and no expectations of stardom now, just a Gulf Coast kid empowering himself to dream again. Bender said he wanted to set an example for the underprivileged children he worked with back home, that “you can fight and come back from bad situations.”
    “If I fail, I’ll face it,” he said. “But I can’t live with not trying.”
    Howard Beck

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  3. #2
    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    He plays like Clarence Weatherspoon did late in his career. If he can stay healthy he can be a decent role player on a team competing for a spot in the playoffs.

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    I hated Clarence Weatherspoon. :P

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    No, Bender is not healed. He's still got issues and is still in pain as other recent articles have noted. He thinks he has compensated for the lack of cartilidge with muscle and he says he is in less pain. Who knows how far that will take him.

    He seems to be a really good guy and I am sad for what might have been. I know the knock on Bender was "basketball IQ" but he has always come off as intelligent and diligent. I suspect he would have figured a lot of things out if he could have stayed healthy enough to get consistent time.
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    There are certain procedures now that actually regrow cartlidge. Why don't we see any cartlidge transplants or is it to new to be widely used on humans? If I remember correctly, scientists can pretty much grow it in a lab specifically for your body. Hell they grew a girl a bladder and she had no side effects because it was basically a replacement specifically for her.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Bender was never able to establish an identity as a player and this hurt his game (especially on the defensive end, where he was awful, in spite of all the athleticism), so maybe losing some of his athletic ability will actually help him - at least, now he has a position. I like the Weatherspoon comparison, but I don't know how long will Bender stay around. Hopefully a lot, but I'm not optimistic.

    In any case, this is a good story.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Healed? Didn't you know, he was never actually hurt! It was his low pain tolerance and lack of heart! His knees weren't that bad and he could have played on them if he wasn't such a wimp. It's only his need for more money that has him back in the NBA!

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    I can say that the fact that he can come back and play shows that he could have played back then but had little to no desire to do what it took to be in an organized team.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    I think it makes a pretty solid argument that doctor's were telling him (and the team) he could play if he could tough it out.

    Apparently he couldn't.
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Healed? Didn't you know, he was never actually hurt! It was his low pain tolerance and lack of heart! His knees weren't that bad and he could have played on them if he wasn't such a wimp. It's only his need for more money that has him back in the NBA!
    It must be fairly easy to say he was never really hurt and couldn't tough it out like a real man because somehow you are really in the know regarding how much pain he experienced.
    Last edited by speakout4; 12-26-2009 at 10:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by speakout4 View Post
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    It must be fairly easy to say he was never really hurt and couldn't tough it out like a real man because somehow you are really in the know regarding how much pain he experienced.
    Sarcasm, friend.
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Sarcasm, friend.
    I'm still pissed that some of the money that the Pacers gave him, ended up being spent in Louisiana.

  13. #11

    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Sarcasm, friend.
    Sometimes it is the only appropriate response.....

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Natston View Post
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    I'm still pissed that some of the money that the Pacers gave him, ended up being spent in Louisiana.
    whats wrong with him spending his money there????? danny spends his in louisiana also, it's his home state as well........

  15. #13

    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    but granger has earned his money. bender definitely did not come even remotely close.
    in a more fair world, bender should have to give back about 70-75% of what the pacers paid him since he missed about that many games for his pacer career.

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Healed? Didn't you know, he was never actually hurt! It was his low pain tolerance and lack of heart! His knees weren't that bad and he could have played on them if he wasn't such a wimp. It's only his need for more money that has him back in the NBA!
    Take people out of context much?

    Here is the entire post that you are cutting and pasting from. Notice I said nobody would be right or wrong. I was using examples to illustrate a point.

    Is there really a FACT that can be stated that will prove this one way or the other? It is all opinion and you are entitled to your and I am entitled to mine.

    I have tons of stories that can be told but they are anecdotal and can not be taken as hard fact.

    Also facts can be interpreted in different ways.

    As an example we both can point to the fact that he is trying to make a comeback and use that as a fact to prove our point.

    You can say that he obviously has the desire to play the game so he is making a valiant effort to come back.

    I can say that the fact that he can come back and play shows that he could have played back then but had little to no desire to do what it took to be in an organized team.

    Neither of us would be right or wrong and both can claim this as a fact of their own.


    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by clownskull View Post
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    but granger has earned his money. bender definitely did not come even remotely close.
    in a more fair world, bender should have to give back about 70-75% of what the pacers paid him since he missed about that many games for his pacer career.
    In this alternate fair universe, Granger got a huge raise last season.

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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by clownskull View Post
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    but granger has earned his money. bender definitely did not come even remotely close.
    in a more fair world, bender should have to give back about 70-75% of what the pacers paid him since he missed about that many games for his pacer career.
    if you look at his post and mine he stated that he was pissed the money was spent in Louisiana. he didn't complain aout Bender getting paid for not playing.

  19. #17

    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Pacers money going to Louisiana doesn't even register on the scale of ridiculous unfairness compared to the Pacers money going every year to St. Louis.

    .
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

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  21. #18
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    Thumbs down Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    Take people out of context much?
    Not even a little out of context, Peck. You've made your position clear again and again. If you want to claim we can't know who's ultimately right or wrong then that's technically true (I can't prove without a shadow of a doubt that Danny doesn't sacrifice puppies to Ba'al after each home win), but it's pretty clear that your position is that Bender didn't have the desire and the heart to play through pain.

    Have I misunderstood you? Has that not been your position?
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by clownskull View Post
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    but granger has earned his money. bender definitely did not come even remotely close.
    in a more fair world, bender should have to give back about 70-75% of what the pacers paid him since he missed about that many games for his pacer career.
    Why should Bender be penalized? The injury wasn't his fault.

  23. #20
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Not even a little out of context, Peck. You've made your position clear again and again. If you want to claim we can't know who's ultimately right or wrong then that's technically true (I can't prove without a shadow of a doubt that Danny doesn't sacrifice puppies to Ba'al after each home win), but it's pretty clear that your position is that Bender didn't have the desire and the heart to play through pain.

    Have I misunderstood you? Has that not been your position?
    Completely and totally out of the context in which I used the sentence you quoted.

    You made it appear as though that I just typed that line up as a statement of fact all by itself. When it was a hypothetical part of a larger conversation.

    If what you say is true then Danny needs to find a new God because the sacrifices have not been working.


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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    Completely and totally out of the context in which I used the sentence you quoted.

    You made it appear as though that I just typed that line up as a statement of fact all by itself. When it was a hypothetical part of a larger conversation.
    Ok, here's the rest of the conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roaming Gnome View Post
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    Maybe all these years of watching basketball may make him a better basketball player. He was a great athlete, but didn't have the head for the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    Not to mention the heart.
    So... you're saying here that he hypothetically doesn't have the heart? Or is there even more context that I'm missing?
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  25. #22
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    Default Re: Is Bender healed?

    I'm not going to play this game with you.

    You know how I feel about the entire issue. What I take issue with is you using my one statement which was part of a much larger conversation and not acknowledging that it was said as hypothetical.

    Do you also attribute the fact that I wrote "You can say that he obviously has the desire to play the game so he is making a valiant effort to come back."

    I wrote both in the same post; both were hypothetical to prove a point.

    That is my only problem btw. You could have said anything in regards to your thought that I believe something about Bender one way or the other and I would not have cared. I might have responded but I would not be so particular because, yes it's no secret how I have always felt about Bender.

    However I just take issue with cherry picking a hypothetical conversation.


    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

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