While it may seem like the world of professional sports should be pretty black and white by now, NBA players have a few more tricks up their sleeves. It turns out that more than a handful of pro basketball players have a passion for wine — and not just any old wine you’d buy at a grocery store. They’re into fine wine from the world’s top wineries. Surprised? Us too.
How did this wine obsession start?
For the past few years, people have started to notice a trend. Many NBA players have posted on social media about traveling to wine-rich areas of the world, like Napa, Italy, and France, according to ESPN. They travel alone, with spouses, and with teammates. They travel with wine or they bring empty wine cases to stock up when they’re away from home.
While there’s no answer to how this NBA trend started, we assume there’s a correlation between the sport and beverage. Pro basketball players are perfectionists. They’ve spent their entire lives preparing to be the best player they can be. Once they enter the NBA, they work hard and never take a break.
The same could be said for master sommeliers. People who know wine don’t just know it a little bit, they learn everything they can. They’ve dedicated their lives to mastering the craft of understanding wine. The amount of work that goes into making a bottle of fine wine is astounding, so perhaps this similarity speaks to NBA players.
Who’s the most passionate wine enthusiast?
It’s hard to say which NBA player is the most into wine. Dwyane Wade launched his own label, Wade Cellars, in California. Yao Ming has a winery in Napa. Stephen Curry’s wife Ayesha and sister Sydel started their own wine line, too.
The entire Cleveland Cavaliers team toured Napa winery Mayacamas and asked question after question to learn more. Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler took a case stocked full of his wines to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Carmelo Anthony not only enjoys wine, but he participates in blind tastings. He also carries a wine case with him when he travels. LeBron James tours wineries and asks lots of questions about everything from soil differences to how production costs. We’re sure it won’t be long until he has his own winery, as well.
This wine love isn’t going anywhere
While we may never know what exactly started this love affair between NBA players and wine, we appreciate that they’ve sparked the same passion in others. It’s always fun to find a new hobby. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll attend wine tastings offered by our favorite NBA players.