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The NBA Is Addicted to Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

7 fascinating facts from ESPN’s PB&J investigation


Pro athletes are basically superhumans, consistently achieving the kind of stuff — epic slam dunks, impressive runs, impossibly accurate long-distance shots — that mere mortals can only dream of. So it would only be natural to assume they run on sophisticated diets of high-tech protein shakes, grass-fed beef, and enough kale and quinoa to feed a literal army. But according to a delightful new story from ESPN, the NBA is largely fueled by a childhood staple that many today would dismiss as junk food: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Over the past decade or so, PB&Js have apparently become a locker room fixture for nearly every team in the league; any new coaching staff that try to disrupt this deeply cherished pre-game ritual risk being exiled. Here now, seven amusing takeaways from ESPN’s PB&J exposé:

  1. The progenitor of the NBA’s widespread PB&J habit is former Celtics player Kevin Garnett, who reportedly required two sandwiches before every game.
  2. The award for fanciest PB&J setup in the league goes to the Milwaukee Bucks, who boast “a pregame buffet featuring smooth, crunchy and almond butters, an assortment of jellies (raspberry, strawberry, grape, blueberry, apricot), three breads from a local bakery (white, wheat and gluten-free) and Nutella.”
  3. The Cavaliers serve their opponents Uncrustables (those weird pre-made PB&Js found in your grocer’s freezer section), which seems like a very advanced intimidation technique.
  4. This is totally nuts: When he was deep in the throes of a sugar addiction, Atlanta Hawks player Dwight Howard used to eat two dozen candy bars a day. (He nixed the candy, but still enjoys PB&Js.)
  5. Warriors point guard Steph Curry’s sandwich of choice involves creamy Skippy and Smucker’s strawberry jelly.
  6. “Warriors forward Kevin Durant is such a fan that he worked with Nike to unveil a PB&J-colored sneaker.
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook is a bit of a renegade: He likes his sandwich on toasted wheat bread, with a smear of butter added on the inside.

The NBA’s Secret Addiction [ESPN]
More Sports Coverage [E]