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Whether you love him or hate him, every basketball fan is familiar with JJ Redick. The sharpshooter first burst onto the scene at Duke University; while his NCAA success didn’t immediately translate to the NBA, the guard has turned into a solid pro player. After 14 seasons in the association, he’s still going strong.

Although Redick has plenty of natural talent and a silky shooting stroke, that’s not the only thing that helped him carve out a niche in the NBA, In fact, his ‘bowl of beets’ diet is actually a key part of his on-court success.

JJ Redick became a star at Duke University

Thanks to its status as one of the NCAA’s modern powers, Duke University is able to recruit plenty of star players. During his time in Durham, JJ Redick grew into one of the Blue Devils’ top talents.

After making a name for himself in high school, Redick arrived on campus ahead of the 2002-03 NCAA season. While there were some growing pains along the way, the guard established himself as a deadly shooter and a capable scorer; he finished his freshman campaign averaging 15 points, 2.5 rebounds, and two steals per outing.

Redick improved each year and, by the time he was a senior, had become a legitimate star. During his final season on campus, the guard poured in an average of 26.8 points per night. He shot 47% from the floor and knocked down more than 42% of his three-pointers; that offensive dominance made him helped him sweep the 2006 National Player of the Year awards.

Eventually finding success in the NBA

Coming out of college, JJ Redick seemed like a can’t miss draft pick. While the Orlando Magic agreed, selected the guard 11th in 2006, it took him some time to find his stride.

At the NBA level, Redick found it hard to survive as a pure shooter; curling off screens might work in college, but it was harder to find space in the pros. The guard’s defense also wasn’t up to scratch. Those factors, combined with some injuries, limited Redick’s effectiveness. As a rookie, he only appeared in 42 games, averaging six points per outing.

Over time, though, JJ began to adjust to life in the NBA; he started earning more playing time and rediscovered his scoring touch. While the guard has bounced around a bit, he’s become a solid contributor capable of slotting into any lineup. Reddick might not carry a team as he did at Duke, but he’ll give you 30 minutes of effort and double-digit points every time he takes the floor.

Beets are a key part of JJ Redick’s NBA success

NBA players have plenty of resources, ranging from specialized coaches to unique training regimens, to ensure they’re at their best whenever they hit the court. JJ Redick, however, has another ace up his sleeve: beets.

In a GQ Youtube video highlighting 10 things that he can’t live without, Redick discussed his relationship with the root vegetable in surprising detail. “For those that don’t know, for cardiovascular endurance training and endurance sports, like basketball, beets are an incredible nutritional supplement,” he explained. “During the season, I eat beets twice a day. I don’t mean one or two beets, I literally mean give me a bowl of beets.” He also drinks a bottle of water mixed with beet crystals—those were the actual item that he couldn’t live without—before taking the floor.

Despite that, though, Redick doesn’t love the taste of his essential vegetable. “Beets taste terrible, they’re really tough to eat,” he continued. “But I genuinely believe in the science behind it and I also believe in the results I’ve gotten from eating a lot of beets.”

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference and Basketball-Reference