Michael Jordan’s NBA Diet Helped His Basketball Career

Michael Jordan is one of the most decorated NBA players of all time. Decades after leaving the game, MJ is still leaving his mark. Along with his raw talent and extreme dedication to the game, Jordan’s diet helped keep him at the top of his game for years. Read on to learn more about Jordan’s epic career and how his diet helped propel him to the top of the NBA.

Michael Jordan becomes the greatest player of all time

Jordan is often considered one of the greatest athletes to ever play basketball. Coming out of the University of North Carolina, Jordan was the third pick in the first round of the 1984 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. According to Basketball-Reference, the star shooting guard would go on to play for the Bulls for 13 seasons. 

During his time with the Bulls, Jordan won six NBA championships and six NBA finals MVP awards. He also earned the NBA’s MVP awards five times throughout his 13 seasons in Chicago. The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Jordan’s epic career.

Jordan was born with natural talent and maintained a high level of work ethic throughout his career. But the superstar also points to his diet as a factor in his success as an NBA player. 

Michael Jordan’s diet and secrets to longevity 

Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan greets fans before a game in 1996
Bulls player Michael Jordan in 1996 | ERIC CHU/AFP via Getty Images

As Jordan and the Bulls dominated the NBA throughout the ’90s, Tim Grover worked as his personal trainer. According to Men’s Health, Grover is the one who got the GOAT’s diet in check during his NBA reign.

As it turns out, Grover had Jordan eating five to six small meals a day. Ultimately, each meal was set up to fuel Jordan with food consisting of around 70% carbs, 20% fat, and 10% protein. Grover also told the magazine that Jordan’s nutrition plan was designed to keep his blood sugar level stable. It also boosted his metabolism in order to give him the fuel he needed without risking weight gain.

For Jordan, this style of dieting came easy. In regard to this meal plan, Grover told the publication, “Michael is not a big eater. He eats only when he’s hungry and only until he feels comfortable rather than full.”

Jordan’s unusual pregame meal helped him become a legend

While Jordan stuck to Grover’s diet plan on training days, sources say MJ went rogue with pregame meals. While conventional wisdom indicated that athletes should load up on carbs before expending massive amounts of energy on the court, this concept never seemed to work for Jordan. Grover told Men’s Health that rice-based and pasta-based pregame meals left Jordan feeling bloated. He lacked the energy to perform at the highest level within just a few hours of eating. 

In the end, Grover and Jordan discovered that eating a steak before the game worked better for the Bulls star. While this method did end up working for MJ, Grover cautions that this pregame ritual is not for everyone. 

During his interview, Grover said:

“Now, listen: I’m not telling you to eat steak before a game. I’m not giving you nutritional advice here. I’m telling you we had to devise a new plan for Michael, based on his body chemistry and schedule, his playing minutes, and the massive amount of energy he expended on the court. The steak slowed down the digestion of everything else he was eating — the starches, vegetables, etc. — and kept his blood sugar consistent so he had more energy throughout the entire game.”

So while the GOAT found success with this pregame regime, it’s not ideal for all athletes.

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