Not all NBA pregame rituals are created equal—or good for your colon.
LeBron James will once again be tossing chalk into the air. Rajon Rondo does everything you could imagine and more. Kevin Garnett shares intimate moments with the padded basket support, and Dwight Howard has, in the past, filmed clips for his hip, nonexistent TV show, Fun with Plastic.
Toni Kukoc, a three-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls, did pregames a little differently. He ate. A lot.
The fine gents on NBA TV's Open Court were discussing what they would eat before each game. After saying that he himself would munch on some pasta or chicken, Steve Kerr shared a pregame dining experience he had with his former teammate:
But I'll tell you a quick story about Toni Kukoc, when he came over to the NBA. First game of the season, I asked him if he wanted to go grab a bite to eat. It's about three o'clock in the afternoon, four hours before the game. He orders this feast—salad, appetizer, huge plate of pasta, chicken, glass of red wine, a dessert like tiramisu and then he follows it up with an espresso. And I'm just in awe.
I'm with you, Steve. That seems like a little much. Before my super-intense, incredibly inefficient pickup games, I scarf down a protein bar and some water. Maybe a protein shake, too, if I'm feeling crazy.
Never would I think to hit the local Mickey D's—I mean five-star restaurant—to order a meal fit for a king and his regular-sized army. I have indigestion just reading about Kukoc's pregame eating habits.
We've all indulged our binge-eating impulses at some point, but Thanksgiving-like dinners right before a basketball game is over the top. Perhaps even a little dangerous, what with all the running on a full stomach and potential puking that could follow.
Turns out Kerr had similar concerns.
"I'm like, 'Toni, this is your pregame meal,'" Kerr recalled. "He [Kukoc] goes, 'In Europe, we eat a lot, we drink a little wine, we have espresso, we go back to hotel, take big [expletive] and then we go [play].'"
This might be one of those TMI moments. Pregame bowel movements aren't typically of any interest to us. Not even when it's Superman talking and he's referring to his commode as the "throne of grace."
Unflattering images now in our head aside, at least Kukoc followed proper protocol. He waited more than 30 minutes before running, swimming or skydiving and was able to "relieve" himself prior to all activities as well.
While this all sounds slightly sickening—and it would be hell on the waistline—Kukoc lasted 13 seasons in the NBA. Who are we to question his portion-control practices?
Maybe we're the unorthodox ones.
Indeed, eating sprees could be the key to long, successful, sports-related endeavors. So next time I'm about to hit the blacktop, I'll skip the protein bars and head straight to the all-you-can-eat buffet.
And yes, I will go back for seconds.