The NBA world is currently rapt with ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary about Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. While that story is well known to some of us, others are just now getting a taste of the story of one of the greatest to ever play the game. Yet, it’s not the only documentary to come out this month deserving the attention of basketball fans. There is another that tells perhaps a more obscure story of one player’s basketball journey, which has ties to the Dallas Mavericks.
No Mercy: The Pops Mensah-Bonsu Story documents the ups and downs of the career one of the basketball world’s less heralded players. The British-born Mensah-Bonsu isn’t a household name in the United States like Michael Jordan. His NBA career, which began in Dallas, lasted just four nonconsecutive seasons and a total of 61 games. But his impact on the game collegiately and internationally, both on and off the court, isn’t in dispute.
It traces Mensah-Bonsu’s beginnings in North London where he first began playing the game alongside his friend, competition, and future NBA All-Star, Luol Deng. From there, he travels to the U.S. to attend high school. Eventually, he makes his way to George Washington University. While there, he helps lead the Colonials to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances as well as the school’s first national top 10 ranking in 50 years during his junior year.
The Mavericks were the first professional team to take a chance on Mensah-Bonsu. They signed the lengthy forward with a lot of bounce as a free agent in 2006, after he went undrafted. Dallas was the first of many stops in his professional career that saw him bounce around the NBA, G League (then called the D-League), and overseas. Perhaps his proudest moment came when he represented the United Kingdom at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
One of the more interesting stories of his career comes in 2013 during a Goodman League game at the Farms, essentially Washington D.C.’s version of New York City’s Rucker Park. In it, he drew the assignment of guarding Kevin Durant for the whole game. The footage is amazing to see, especially when Mensah-Bonsu violently rejects Durant at the rim. You’ll want to watch it several times. It’s that cold.
The documentary concludes with his return to the NBA after an abrupt and unexpected retirement from playing in 2015. He’s now part of the front office, the general manager of the Capitol City Go-Go, the D League affiliate of the Washington Wizards. It’s a short film, only about 30 minutes in length, but through it, Mensah-Bonsu’s genuine spirit shines through. If you’re a fan of feel good stories or just like obscure Mavericks players, watching No Mercy is well worth your time.
No Mercy: The Pops Mensah-Bonsu Journey
From North London to GW Men's Basketball, the NBA as a player AND a scout, an Olympian, the General Manager of the Capital City Go-Go, and a Hall of Famer. See the story of Pops Mensah-Bonsu's life and incredible basketball journey in a new documentary, "NO MERCY," on Thursday (4/16) at 7:00 pm WITH live commentary in the chat from Pops himself!Posted by Monumental Sports Network on Thursday, April 16, 2020
In case the video doesn’t load properly, here’s the link to the documentary.