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How The Trail Blazers Prepare on Game Day

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian documents what a typical game day entails for an NBA player.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Ever wondered how an NBA player spends the day of a game? It’s not as relaxed as one might think, and is actually meticulously planned. The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman recently gave fans a glimpse into what life in the NBA is really like.

According to Freeman, a game day at home for the Portland Trail Blazers starts with players arriving at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning for breakfast, a light shootaround, and a brief film session. Players then lift weights, soak in the hot (or cold) tub, or hit the steam room before a quick bite to eat, heading home around noon. After that, players are essentially on their own until pre-game activities, which start at about 4:00 p.m., given a 7:00 p.m. opening tip.

While what individual players do during that downtime varies, one thing doesn’t: each individual’s routine. NBA players are creatures of habit, and will go to great lengths to repeat the same pattern. For example, Damian Lillard wakes up from his daily nap at precisely 2:59 p.m. every game day. Evan Turner, on the other hand, always has a private shootaround in an empty Moda Center, where he can find a zone he hopes to replicate in the game later that night, a tradition that dates back to his college days at Ohio State.

Then of course there is the pregame meal. Shabazz Napier always has a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich, as do many others. Perhaps most particular is Turner, who has the same thing before every game; chicken and vegetables, but with a particular twist,

It has to be plain, without sauces on top, the foods cannot touch and there better not be a white condiment in sight.

"I don't mess with mayonnaise," Turner said. "I don't trust white condiments. I just don't feel it. I don't even like looking at them."

Rookies and end-of-the-bench guys are usually the first to arrive for pregame, with veterans arriving in intervals. Allen Crabbe, a veteran of the process, indicated that it helped in his development. The extra time provides invaluable experience to players looking to make their mark.

Each player has his own special routine, but they all approach gameday with the same consistency. You can learn more about how individual Trail Blazers prepare by reading Freeman’s full article, here.