When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010, things got dark. In that first season without their superstar, the Cavs lost 26 games in a row with a roster that featured players like J. J. Hickson and Anthony Parker getting 30-plus minutes a game. All that losing positioned the Cavs to land Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson in the 2011 NBA Draft, but the roster was still so barren that the team came nowhere close to a winning record during James’s four-year absence.
Devoid of a winning culture or any veterans who cared enough to mentor the Cavs’ young stars, bad habits seeped into the locker room. One of them was poor eating. According to ohio.com, chicken fingers and fries became a typical pre-game meal. Though Irving never rode the chicken fingers wave, he had a different, more hilarious, addiction, which trainers had to tell him to cut out of his diet. From Cavs beat writer Jason Lloyd:
Kyrie Irving was never a part of the chicken finger contingent, but he eats so much spaghetti on game days that a former teammate once nicknamed him “Pasta.”
Irving wasn’t just eating small portions of plain noodles to store up carbs before that night’s matchup. Oh no. It sounds like my man was gulping down pounds of good spaghetti, and you know that with access to the Cavs’ cafeteria Irving was piling on the toppings.
James is back now, and so are veterans like James Jones, Richard Jefferson and Mo Williams, so those poor eating habits don’t infect the locker room anymore. In fact, the Cavs have stepped up their entire sports nutrition department. A team chef provides healthy post-game meals to each player after home games and sets strict nutrition guidelines, like avoiding energy drinks.
But we will always have a wonderful mental image of Uncle Drew sitting in front of his locker before a game and wolfing down piles of spaghetti.