Why the NBA Flips Over This Food

Scarfing vast quantities of PB&J is a pre-game ritual
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2017 6:33 PM CDT
Why the NBA Flips Over This Food
A pre-game peanut butter and jelly sandwich is an NBA ritual.   (Getty Images/grandriver)

Only organic peanut butter and jelly and crustless white bread will do for the Portland Trail Blazers. For the Milwaukee Bucks, the elaborate locker room buffet offers three types of bread paired with crunchy, smooth, and almond butters, assorted jellies, and other fixings. The Cleveland Cavaliers like to send pre-packaged Uncrustables to opposing teams, while they feast on artisanal versions with fancy jams, ESPN magazine reports. Although the delivery methods differ, the NBA is apparently crazy for PB&J. The little-known pre-game (and sometimes at halftime or post-game, too) ritual traces its roots to Boston during the 2007-08 season when one Celtics player confessed a craving: "Man, I could go for a PB&J." He got his snack, as did Kevin Garnett, the game went well, and thus: "We're going to need PB&J in here every game now," Garnett said. The Celtics went on to win the NBA title, and a tradition was born—and spread to other teams.

The practice is so ingrained that the Golden State Warriors nearly revolted when a new trainer banned sugary snacks. (He eventually relented on PB&J.) Why the school cafeteria staple became so popular isn't clear, but dozens of interviews revealed superstition and comfort food have something to do with it. “It’s a soothing memory from childhood,” the LA Lakers’ nutritionist tells ESPN. Another calls it "peace of mind." Yet there is science, not just hunger, behind the hankering. With the first bite, the tasty combination of fats and sugars unleashes chemicals that produce effects similar to sex, or a heroin rush, releasing doses of "happiness hormone" serotonin and endorphins that reduce stress, a nutritionist tells ESPN. It adds up to a perfect fix before a big game. Packing 500 calories, 50 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of fat, a PB&J sandwich is "not the best," says sports nutritionist Jill Lane, "but it's not bad." Read the full article here. (Snacking on peanuts may keep you thin.)

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