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Jonathan Bender
New York Knicks  – No. 9
Power forward
Born January 30, 1981 (1981-01-30) (age 29)
Picayune, Mississippi
Nationality American
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 230 lb (104 kg)
High school Picayune Memorial High School
Draft 5th overall, 1999
Toronto Raptors
Pro career 1999–present
Former teams Indiana Pacers (1999–2005)

Jonathan Rene Bender (born January 30, 1981 in Picayune, Mississippi) is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).



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. He was then traded to the Indiana Pacers for veteran forward 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.[1]

Highlights of Bender's career have included an outstanding performance in the Pacers' 2004 playoff series with the Celtics, where he led the Pacers in scoring in game 3, and set personal playoff career bests in rebounds and minutes in game 2. In 2001, Bender participated in the Slam Dunk competition during All-Star weekend, where he executed a Julius Erving-style tomahawk jam from the free throw line, left-handed.

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.[2] In 2005, Bender was rated by Sports Illustrated as #11 on the list of the 20 biggest busts in modern NBA draft history.[3]

On December 13, 2009, the New York Knicks signed Jonathan 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.[4]

Off the court

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, he founded the nonprofit Jonathan Bender Foundation in New Orleans.[1]

He is a cousin of current New Orleans Hornets guard Morris Peterson.


External links



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