ESPN.com re-released an article this week written by Baxter Holmes in 2017 with the tagline of “the NBA’s secret addiction.” What is that addiction? It’s certainly not one that one would have previously thought it would be for the association in the 80’s and 90’s. Instead, the item that numerous NBA players have learned to crave is the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich — or “PB&J” as it is lovingly referred to throughout Holmes’ article.
A sampling of teams that have adopted this approach to supporting their prized employees pre- and post-game includes:
- “The Trail Blazers offer 20 crustless, halved PB&J’s pregame -- 10 of them toasted, a mandate ever since an opposing arena prepared them as such and Blazers guard Damian Lillard approved.”
- The league-leading Milwaukee Bucks “boast the NBA’s most elaborate PB&J operation: 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.”
- Not to be outdone, Holmes notes that “the secretive Spurs, it has been confirmed, indulge in their own pregame PB&J’s.”
- Sugar addict Dwight Howard was convinced, and possibly coerced, to trade in his stash of candied products for PB&J’s to the tune of “1.8 more rebounds, 2.1 more points and 2.5 more minutes per game” in the second half of the 2013 season, which, as Pounders remember, still netted him a first round series sweep at the hands of the Spurs.
- A reason offered for the PB&J to be supplied en masse to players runs the gamut from providing them a healthier option compared other typical late-night food options to a ritualized stereotype. However, the primary reason supplied by players seemed to be “it’s a soothing memory from childhood.” Holmes reports that “Brian St. Pierre, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition, who’s consulted with the Spurs, says it’s not so much a placebo effect but ‘almost more than that. They just simply believe.’”
Pounders, it is time to run out to the store before the next game to get these simple grocery items totaling 70 cents per sandwich?