Andre Drummond has firmly established himself as one of the most dominant big men in the game today, thanks to his physical gifts and elite rebounding ability. During a recent NBA game in Mexico City, the Pistons center also made headlines for a different reason: a food-related allergy attack that nearly kept him out of the game.
Drummond’s allergy attack
At the heart of Drummond’s drama was an innocuous ceviche dish — a seafood recipe made by curing raw fish in citrus juice. A common ceviche ingredient is avocado, which Drummond is allergic to. Of course, this wasn’t news to the NBA star; he’s avoided the green fruit since he was young.
Drummond also knew perfectly well that avocados are frequently found in ceviche. That’s why he questioned his waitress several times about the recipe — even asking a friend to translate for him. Despite his suspicions, the waitress adamantly said the ceviche contained no avocado.
Lo and behold, just as Drummond reached the bottom of his dish, he found a strip of avocado. Within minutes, his symptoms kicked in worse than any he’d suffered before. His throat tightened, his body itched, and his eyes swelled and watered. Drummond claimed he “couldn’t see” for about 48 hours before the game.
Drummond’s Mexico City performance
Initially, Drummond’s symptoms were so severe that it was unclear whether he would even be able to play. As a result, he was officially listed as a game-time decision.
Fortunately, by the pre-game warmup, the 26-year-old felt well enough to participate. He had one caveat, however. Drummond needed to wear a pair of sunglasses to shield his still-sensitive eyes.
Ultimately, Detroit lost the game, unable to overcome the hot hand of Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic. Drummond even put up the kind of gaudy numbers Pistons fans appreciate. He led his team with 23 points, while pulling down 15 boards.
The NBA’s future in Mexico
The NBA has experienced a broad fanbase in Mexico for years. This year’s slate of Mexico City games proved the game has only grown in popularity south of the border. Not only was the game between the Mavericks and Pistons sold out — with a crowd of 20,064 people — but fans began arriving to the arena a full four hours before tip-off.
With that kind of reception, it’s no surprise players seemed to love playing in Mexico City. Mexican fans haven’t hesitated to shower beloved players with cheers and cries of “MVP” during games. In fact, Mavericks star Luka Doncic received a hero’s welcome in his inaugural Mexico City matchup.
So, can fans expect to see an NBA team make its home in Mexico City in the future? The answer, for now, can only be “maybe.” That said, the NBA is working hard to grow its fan base in Mexico — a necessary first step toward expansion.
In the meantime, on December 12, 2019, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the Mexico City basketball team Capitanes will officially join the NBA G League. This historic milestone makes the Capitanes the very first G League team from outside the U.S. and Canada. Most analysts agree this is the logical first step toward eventually bringing a full-fledged NBA team to Mexico City.
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