Getting paid millions of dollars to play basketball is cool, but you know what’s even cooler? No, not a billion dollars, Justin Timberlake — perks. Perks are what is cool about basketball. Whether it be free shoes, all the sweatpants you could ever want or access to a swimming pool pretty much any time you ever want to take a dip, it’s all good baby bay-bay. Perks are where it’s at.
But here’s a perk I’ve never really considered: gum. Gum is good to chew, inexpensive and pretty easily obtained, but it’s still better if you get it for free. And if you’re the Washington Wizards, not only do you have all the free gum in the world, you also have the best selection in the league. It’s a win-win re: gum. From D.C. Sports Bog’s Sarah Kogum:
“I like the fact that they have Strawberry and Grape Bubblicious,” said a smiling Temple. “I hadn’t seen Bubblicious in a while, so when I got here, I was like wow. Bubblicious? So I had to chew some. I don’t see locker rooms have Bubblicious. Usually they have Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s. The Dentyne and stuff like that. But they have everything here.”
You know how it is — you finally see a rare gum in the wild and you just have to give it a chew. Been there, most recently with some Dr. Pepper Hubba Bubba that is just as good as you’re imagining. Shoutout to all the gums in the whole wide world, even that Bazooka garbage that turns in to sticky gum nuggets within seconds after entering your mouth.
About now you’re probably wondering why the Wizards have so much gum. That’s understandable, since it feels like we’re diving in to a whole new world with this expose (expoxanthan?) on the NBA’s gum trade. Fair enough, though you won’t be surprised to find out the main reason behind the gum overload is the main reason behind a lot of things in today’s NBA: Michael Jordan.
“The GOAT, the greatest to ever do it, chewed gum, so I think it’s spurred basketball players chewing gum,” Garrett Temple told me. “[Michael Jordan] used to always have gum in his mouth, chewing it while we was waiting for free throws or something like that. They’d always show that. That’s the reason I always tried to chew gum, but I got to the point where I found myself losing my breath quicker when I’d run up and down the court having to chew gum also.”
Cartier Martin also offered the Jordan explanation.
“I think a lot of guys did start chewing gum because of Jordan, and watching him,” he said. “And it just became a habit for other guys. Now it’s just kind of a trending thing in the league.”
Dag, been there too, and maybe you have too since I’m not the only one who tried to perfect MJ’s circular horse-chewing gum steez. I mean, if Bill Wennington tried it, I’m sure everyone else did too. And even though I consider myself a generally coordinated person who can handle playing basketball whilst chewing on a spearmint stick, I have to agree with Garrett Temple that chomping on some gum can really throw you off. Maybe I’m crazy but it just feels a bit weird to be running and chewing, maybe because I’ve never been a fan of eating on the go.
But now that we know the Wizards have the gum game on lock, we need a full investigation in to each team’s gum situation and how/if it affects their free agent recruiting. I’m guessing there’s no LeBron’s Lightning Lemonade in the Cavaliers’ locker room, but maybe it’ll be there in the summer of 2014. Or maybe not. All I’m saying is, we need to know.