Good, Bad and Ugly NBA Diets

Sean Hojnacki@@TheRealHojnackiFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2013

"Bro, quinoa is over. Bulgur is like the new rice!"
"Bro, quinoa is over. Bulgur is like the new rice!"Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

As Dr. Oz or any high school gym teacher can tell you, the key to health is diet and exercise.

While basketball requires regular exercise, it does not demand a proper diet.

Some NBA players are a little too strict with their intake while others just pig out, blood sugar be damned! 

Here are the good, the bad and the ugly eaters around the league.


Good: Cleansing Knickerbockers

Carmelo Anthony is in the broad discussion for MVP voting this season, which made it particularly surprising to find out in mid-January that he had been "fasting for the last 15 days" (per Chris Herring, Wall Street Journal). 

Melo said he fasted for "spiritual reasons," but his spirit guide had told him that 15 days was sufficient and he now ought to ingest a preposterous porterhouse (per Herring):

Anthony admitted that even he was surprised at the effect of his fast, saying, "I don’t know how I was out there competing at a high level" (Nate Taylor of the New York Times). At least he's back on the red meat.

Amar'e Stoudemire took a slightly different approach. Instead of fasting like a zealot, STAT went straight vegan before the season began. He believes that it gives him "more energy than before" (per Taylor).

Granted, when Stoudemire revealed his diet in January, he had only played seven games while rehabbing from injury. But Amar'e has raised his scoring with each month and is now averaging over 15 points per game in March.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, STAT abandoned his vegan diet for a week at the beginning of February, but he soon returned to his feasts of lentils and chick peas.


Bad: Spurs Burgers

The San Antonio Spurs run like a well-oiled machine on the court. What fuels them? A triennial trip to In-N-Out Burger, dispensers of supreme grub and Bible verses.

Matt Bonner admitted to the ambivalence we all feel prior to chowing down on a burger and fries (per Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News):

You know you shouldn’t be eating a grease-laced double burger with fried onions, fries and a milk shake, but once in a while, you’ve got to go for it. It was one of those things where no one will claim responsibility, but everybody enjoyed it.

Frenchman Tony Parker also took part, ditching high-brow gastronomy for artery-clogging deliciousness.

According to Parker, the outing was unequivocally awesome: “That was awesome. We did the same thing about three years ago, too, and that was awesome, too. Even though I’m a gourmet guy, it doesn’t hurt to eat a double-burger sometimes.”

Manu Ginobili skipped the In-N-Out trip for some upmarket Italian fare with Tiago Splitter near San Francisco’s fashionable Union Square. Still, he scarfed a burger for the sake of solidarity.

Rookie Aron Baynes consumed a prodigious four double-doubles. Stephen Jackson limited himself to just one, listing superior burger joints like "Fatburger, Sonic, Five Guys, but not In-N-Out."

Good thing the Spurs have such a long road trip, as they should have ample opportunity to sample all of Jackson's favorites. 


Ugly: Sweet Tooths and Gluttons

Derrick Rose has been a subject of focus for his rehab from knee injury, but back in 2008, the Memphis freshman almost missed out on the title game against Kansas with an acute stomach ache.

The cause? His addiction to candy. 

Backcourt mate Chris Douglas-Roberts told the Associated Press, "We tell Derrick the whole year, 'Stop eating so many Gummy Bears and Sour Straws.' But he can't...Nobody eats Gummy Bears more than him" (via ESPN).

Rose played 45 minutes and scored 18 points in Memphis' overtime loss to Kansas in the championship that year. He was forced to wise up on his candy fix when he hired a personal chef in 2010. 

Speaking about his penchant for candy, D-Rose admitted to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, "I'm not done with it. But I know when to eat it." Yes, everything in moderation. 

Lamar Odom may be another story. He used to have a serious problem with candy. He was in so deep, he was supplying. Dr. Daniel Amen worried so much that he wrote the Los Angeles Lakers an open letter.

And that was before Odom's dark days with the Dallas Mavericks. There's no evidence to suggest he has kicked his habit or stopped slinging sugar to teammates.

But the Comeback Diet of the Year Award has to go to Enes Kanter.

The Utah Jazz center dropped 30 pounds in the offseason, which was all due to his radical change in diet. Although in his case, it was really just a matter of sensible nutrition.

Kanter told Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune his ludicrous daily diet from last year:

First my breakfast: I was eating like six eggs, omelet with six eggs; seven or eight pancakes, with sugar, whipped cream, everything; then a breakfast burrito. That was just my breakfast. Then I came to practice and my lunch was just like pasta, chicken alfredo or whatever, and then a burger and an appetizer. Dessert? No. Dessert was at dinnertime. Dinnertime I ate another burger, a big meal again and a dessert.

I'm no math whiz, but that probably added up to about 10,000 calories. Two burgers, a burrito, six eggs, eight pancakes with sugar and whipped cream? Good thing he's now on egg whites and yogurt. 

The slimmer Kanter has improved his shooting percentage (54.9 percent from 49.6) and his scoring average has risen by 2.5 points per game.

Now that's what a proper diet can do for you. There's nothing wrong with In-N-Out or Jujyfruits, but moderation is the key.


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