I shared this in Friday's 10-man rotation when i first got a look at it, but that was apparently a super-hot leak, because when I went to go re-watch it on Monday, the link was broken. (Talk about your all-time classic Internet blunders!) Now, though, I'm glad to say that the clip's not only working, but that we can embed it and share it as it's meant to be seen. Here, then, is sharpshooting San Antonio Spurs reserve Matt Bonner — a noted teacher, comedic performer, inspiration of artistic endeavor and, most of all, lover of sandwiches — sitting down with legendary Geto Boyz MC Bushwick Bill to eat tacos as part of a new Web series, "Wrapping with the Red Mamba," for ESPN:
Sandwiches are one of those universal baselines of American culture. Everyone can relate to the subject and everyone loves a good sandwich. Even people who are on the paleo diet ate sandwiches at some point in their life. [...] After a year of searching [for the best sandwich in the country], I did not find a clear-cut winner. So now I'm bringing it back as "The Sandwich Hunter: Wrapping with the Red Mamba" and enlisting the help of locals. Who better to find the best mom-and-pop sandwich joints than the very people who grew up in the communities we visit throughout the season? I will be inviting musicians from all the NBA cities to take me to their favorite local sandwich spot for lunch. I'll write about the experience and rate the sandwiches. It's worth pointing out that the pun in the new blog title, "wrapping," is significant because I will be focusing on rappers.
It's a good thing that Matt pointed out the pun. We probably wouldn't have figured it out otherwise.
There are a lot of great things about the introductory installment of "Wrapping with the Red Mamba," obviously — the Bonner beatboxing, the RiFF RAFF shade, Matt confirming that he's an open-minded food connoisseur who doesn't discriminate against any kind of taco, etc. — but for my money, it's Bonner's interview skills that really shine here. "Growing up, what was your experience with, like, sandwiches?" is the kind of hard-boiled journalism too few professionals practice these days. It's also a question that I would really love to hear somebody ask Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. I know that the show's theme song exhorts us not to tell Pop that Matt's doing this series, but there's a chance to get some real insight into Pop's world here. It'd definitely be better than the yes/no questions that lead to two-word responses in between-quarters interviews during nationally televised games. That bit's gone stale; let's freshen it up at some point this postseason, Sandwich Hunter-style.
Here's hoping Bonner's able to tap into his extensive Rolodex of hip-hop connections — Fat Joe, Mobb Deep and surely dozens more — to keep this series going for at least as long as the Spurs are alive and kicking in the playoffs. It might be tough for a visiting Spur to get love from rappers in hostile environments, but that's what the sandwiches are for; as Bonner said in Esquire, "Sandwiches are one of those universal baselines of American culture. Everyone can relate to the subject and everyone loves a good sandwich." That's beautiful, man.
- - - - - - -