I am not a huge fan of athlete-designed or endorsed foods and diets, mainly because I am not an athlete, but I also hate the joyless, clinical approach so many of these “diets” take. (In fact, when Tom Brady released his absurd, overpriced “nutritional manual” last year, I was incensed.) But the NBA has a meal plan pretty much everyone can get behind: The humbly delicious peanut butter and jam.
Photo by Katheirne Hitt.
According to ESPN, the origin story of the PB&J-fuelled “sandwich revolution” is stuff of legend. It begins with an unnamed teammate voicing his hunger to Bryan Doo (the Celtics strength and conditioning coach). The sandwich sounded good to Kevin Garnett too:
“Man, I could go for a PB&J,” the player said.
And then Garnett, in an act with historical reverberations, uttered the now-fabled words: “Yeah, let’s get on that.”
You can read the full saga in the link below, but apparently the Celtics played well enough to cause Garnett to mandate that the iconic childhood sandwich be served before every game, and that his contain strawberry. It makes a certain amount of sense as a performance food; it has protein and carbs and doesn’t weigh you down like meaty, greasy fare. Fast-forward to the present day, and it isn’t just the Celtics who load up on peanut butter and jam. Several teams have gotten in on the action, and each puts their own spin on it.
- The Trail Blazers: Organic peanut butter and jam are a must (no one is shocked), save for the white bread which is said to have a “high-glycemic carb that easily digests to provide a quick energy jolt”. Out of the 20 sandwiches served, half are toasted, and all are crustless.
- The Rockets: This is a customisable situation, with white and wheat bread, chunky and smooth peanut butter, and strawberry and grape jam being offered by the kitchen at all times, including halftime.
- The Clippers: These guys are a little fancier, and indulge in both peanut and almond butters, as well as “assorted jellies from Whole Foods”.
- The Bucks: If I had to pick a basketball team to be on based on PB&J game alone, I would choose this one. Not only do they get “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”, but they offer their talent “PB&J-flavored oatmeal, PB&J recovery shakes, PB&J waffles and PB&J pancakes”.
- The Cavs: These boys also take the sandwich very seriously with both peanut and almond butter, homemade raspberry and grape jam, and fresh banana slices.
The NBA’s Secret Addiction [ESPN]