Basketball stars love wine. It’s a not-so-well-kept secret anymore, as NBA players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade all sing the beverage’s praises. ESPN covered this trend to give us some fascinating insights.
1. Wine has changed the way NBA teams drink when they travel
In the past, NBA teams would make sure to stock their planes with all kinds of alcohol, beer and liquor included. Now? According to JJ Reddick, it’s not necessary, as wine has become the dominant alcoholic beverage on team planes.
2. Jimmy Butler brought wine to the Olympics
The Miami Heat player’s desire to represent his country and his love of wine intersected in 2016. Jimmy Butler was elected to Team USA for the Rio Summer Olympic games. He didn’t just bring his immense talent to Brazil, however. He also brought a wine case to accompany him on his journey.
3. Three superstars bond over their love of Riesling
Wade, Chris Paul, and Anthony are famous for being friends off the court. Along with James and Chris Bosh, the group is inseparable. One other common thread? Their passion for Riesling. All three loved the sweet, sparkling beverage when they first started getting into wine, although they have since moved on to other varieties.
4. Carmelo Anthony is a notoriously good judge of wine
What exactly did Anthony move onto? A couple types of wine. ESPN detailed his knowledge: “[Anthony] tried an ’86 Petrus, a vintage Bordeaux worth thousands of dollars, and, in his words, there was “no going back” — but then a friend persuaded him to give burgundies a chance, and though Anthony at first found them too intricate, he soon fell for those too.”
Like Butler, Anthony travels prepared, lugging around his favorite varietals in a six-bottle case. He’s apparently a great blind taster of wines as well.
5. Kevin Love is a great wine blender
When the Cavaliers held a team wine-blending event, forward Kevin Love proved that rebounding and three-point shooting weren’t his only specialties. He was reportedly the best wine-blender on the team.
6. Ryan Anderson planned his honeymoon around his love of wine
Great wineries exist all over the globe. One nation known for great wine is New Zealand. Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson sampled a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and loved it. How much, you ask? Anderson and his wife traveled there for their honeymoon.
7. Superstars aren’t the only wine lovers
The NBA’s biggest names aren’t the only vinophiles. Several seasons ago, when the Cavaliers began using their shared love of wine to bond as a team, forward Channing Frye was one of the biggest enthusiasts Frye’s a fan of Pinot Noir, which he samples locally in his offseason home in Oregon.
8. All-Stars use a wine app
Have you heard of Vivino? The Danish app helps non-experts navigate “how” to drink wine. ESPN describes it best: “Billing itself as the world’s largest wine community, Vivino allows users to buy wine — and if you enjoy a bottle, offers recommendations for others you might also like.”
NBA players rave about it, as Steph Curry, Love, and CJ McCollum sang its praises: “Shoutout to my Vivino app,” Curry says. As Love explains, “It’s like Netflix for wine.” According to Blazers guard CJ McCollum? “It’s life-changing.”
9. Luol Deng is all about Malbec
In 2013, former Chicago Bull Luol Deng played a preseason game in Brazil. Afterward, he tried an Argentine Malbec and instantly became hooked. Now it’s his favorite.