I was casually scrolling through ESPN earlier this week. Normally, I just scan the headlines of the worldwide leader and quickly move on to more important news sources (i.e. Canis), but something on the front page caught my eye. It was a wall of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sitting in the middle of my screen, with the title “The NBA’s secret addiction.”
As a recovering peanut butter and jelly addict, and a fan of the NBA, this article was right up my alley. Despite the likelihood of a PB&J relapse, my curiosity got the best of me and I clicked into the story.
Officially triggered. Clicking into the link, I was confronted by additional PB&J images. They’re everywhere. As you scroll down, more delicious, drool-worthy sandwiches appear. The very least that ESPN could have done was attach a quick NSFW so that I was aware of what I was getting myself into.
After a quick run to the store, I finally sat down to read the article, trying not to drop jelly on my keyboard. First off, it’s fantastic. It’s exactly what I love about the NBA. It’s behind the scenes, beyond whatever headline regarding what LeBron or LaVar Ball said or did, and gives us an insider perspective into borderline craziness of some of our favorite superstars, including one Kevin Maurice Garnett.
The article discusses the widespread peanut butter and jelly sandwich craze that’s sweeping the locker rooms and pregame routines of the NBA and its players. As with any craze, it’s important to understand it’s origins. For PB&J in the NBA, that origin story came from the Celtics locker room during the 07-08 season, when an unnamed player requested a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to curb his hunger pangs. Upon hearing the request, KG seconded the motion with a simple, “Yeah, let’s get on that.”
After consuming the sandwich, Garnett “played well” according to the article and so-decreed after the game, “We’re going to need PB&J in here every game now.”
As if it were passed down from on high, the KG Commandment was carried out from that point forward. This was one of my favorite paragraphs from the article,
At the time, Doo notes, the Celtics not only didn't provide lavish pregame spreads, they didn't offer much food at all. But he soon found himself slapping together 20 PB&J's about three hours before every tip-off, the finished products placed in bags and labeled with Sharpie in a secret code: "S" for strawberry, "G" for grape, "C" for crunchy. Of vital import: Garnett was an "S" man, and woe unto he who did not deliver him two S's before every game. "If Kevin didn't get his routine down, he'd be pissed," Doo says. "Even if he didn't eat them, he needed them to be there."
There are several reasons that this is my favorite. One, I’m also an “S” man, which makes me think that my best friendship with KG is still on track to eventually happen, and two, it demonstrates the rigidity of Garnett’s routine. Whether it was working himself into a sweaty, competitive lather during warmups, or making sure his finger guards were on just right, or knowing that there are two sandwiches waiting for him in the locker room, KG would do everything he could to guarantee success on any given night. You have to love that commitment to perfection. You could also call it borderline OCD. Either way, it only increases my love and affection for the man.
My second favorite paragraph is this,
And so it was that during a January visit to Atlanta, when Doo stopped by the TNT studios, he saw, as part of a skit for TNT's new Area 21 show, several NBA greats sitting together to dine: There was Shaquille O'Neal, feasting on barbecued chicken. There was Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, enjoying a steak.
And Kevin Garnett? Well, come on, you know what was on his plate.
To know that while I’m snacking on my strawberry and crunchy sandwich, KG may be out there, enjoying the very same meal warms my heart. The only eloquent way of expressing this feeling is...
In non-KG related news, the article takes a deep-dive into the sugar addiction of Dwight Howard, which is absolutely fascinating. Apparently, Superman’s Kryptonite was Reese’s Pieces.
Howard had been scarfing down about two dozen chocolate bars' worth of sugar every single day for years, possibly as long as a decade. "You name it, he ate it," she says. Skittles, Starbursts, Rolos, Snickers, Mars bars, Twizzlers, Almond Joys, Kit Kats and oh, how he loved Reese's Pieces. He'd eat them before lunch, after lunch, before dinner, after dinner, and like any junkie, he had stashes all over -- in his kitchen, his bedroom, his car, a fix always within reach.
What the hell? Two dozen chocolate bars?? Every day?!? There was a brief period of my life, around the age of 14, where that may have sounded appealing, but even then I knew that stomach aches would ensue. Now, I feel like I’m getting second-hand glucose spikes just from writing about it. How he was able to be one of the most athletically gifted specimens in the league, with this sort of habit, is beyond me. Imagine the marble-cut physique he would have had without the corn syrup. Unreal.
Regardless of the Howard insanity, the article really is fantastic. It discusses KG, gives us some inside NBA info, and reinforces my PB&J habit. I’m now able to dive back into the sweet, sticky abyss that is my addiction, justifying it with the knowledge that the majority of the players I’m watching through my grease-smudged screen have probably consumed the same meal prior to their game. Yes, they are burning off the calories of what Adam Silver has deemed “a healthy snack,” during the game while I lounge comfortably on the couch, brushing breadcrumbs onto the floor, but the justification for my habit still seems valid.
PB&J, the NBA, and a little blogging for that extra flavor. It’s lit.