Let Me Tell You About Your Favorite Pro Athletes

While some people have spent their time at home bettering themselves, Sports Girl has been watching every single one of GQ’s “10 Essentials” videos. Spoiler: JJ Redick eats a lot of beets. Like a LOT of beets.

Bela Kirpalani, Editor-at-Large

Like many others, I have been spending the past week at home socially distancing myself from the outside world. With no sports (and no anything) for the foreseeable future, many have been taking this time to read all the books that have been sitting around forever, create TikTok videos, perfect their cooking skills and go live on Instagram. I, however, have been conducting some important research. 

Before this pandemic, I was a casual fan of GQ’s 10 Essentials videos — a series where athletes and other celebrities sit down and talk about the 10 things they cannot live without. But, in the past 10 days sitting at home, I have upgraded to a superfan and I have successfully watched every single episode posted on the GQ and GQ Sports YouTube channels — 92 and 33 videos, respectively. That’s 125 total.

Here are the biggest things I’ve learned about our favorite professional athletes:

Male athletes sure do love their hats. New Jersey Devils defenseman PK Subban says that hat-making is an art, Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker travels with a hat box and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, a dad of two, wears a dad hat almost every day.

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Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. both have major sweet tooths! Beal even makes sure to eat some Skittles before each NBA game he plays. I ate a bag of Skittles before sitting down to write this. Coincidence? I think not.

Playing cards is a common way to spend time during road trips for many NBA players. Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Paul, Beal and more all play with their teammates in their downtime. Meanwhile, Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell has picked up a couple card tricks which he showed off on his episode of 10 Essentials.

Speaking of games, Butler loves dominating his friends and family in dominoes. He even has a personalized dominoes set with his nickname “Jimmy Buckets” on each of the pieces.

Like playing cards, many NBA players also enjoy drinking and talking about their favorite bottles of wine. One of Butler’s essentials is a wine case that can store several bottles and a bottle opener. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love believes he was a pioneer in the wine game, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has his own wine drop stoppers and New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick is a devotee of the Ah So wine opener (which former teammate Butler actually introduced him to).

Redick eats a lot of beets. He eats giant servings of beets at least twice a day and, 35 minutes before tipoff, he even chugs a bottle of water filled with concentrated beet crystals or beetroot. He doesn’t even like the taste of beets! So why, you ask, does he eat so many of them? Science says that since beets contain inorganic nitrate, they can help keep your blood pressure in check and boost stamina. Can’t beet that.

Dogs! Edmonton Oilers centerman Connor McDavid recently got an adorable mini bernedoodle named Lenny! I’m in love (with the dog)! Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson also brought his dog onto the show — he’s had his bulldog, Rocco, since his rookie season. 

Heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury likes to try going without his cellphone for a few days. Perhaps, after this social distancing is all over, I will also try that approach. In other news, Fury also brought along his personal lubricant which is very important to him because, as some may know, he masturbates seven times a day when in training camp to help keep his testosterone levels high.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich and I wear the same shoes — a pair of high-top Converse every day, all day. Keep it classic.

Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is very attached to his teddy bear named Mac the Bear. According to Towns, Mac the Bear was featured in Mac Miller’s music video for “He Who Ate All the Caviar.” Towns had then asked the rapper for the bear as a gift, however, Miller couldn’t find the bear. Six years after the music video was released, Miller passed away, and the day after his death, Towns happened upon the bear in a vintage clothing store in L.A. Towns believes it’s the same exact bear, however I had some doubts when comparing Towns’ teddy bear to the one in the music video.

That’s some of the cool stuff I learned while spending an inordinate amount of time on YouTube. What will I do with all of this random knowledge? I don’t know. Stay home and be well, everyone.

The Sports Girl is a weekly column that features a girl’s take on sports. Yes, a girl. Yes, on sports.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Mar. 23, 2020 print edition. Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected]

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