Several prominent Portland Trail Blazers players are deeply into wine culture, according to a story by Baxter Holmes for ESPN. With disposable cash aplenty, eyes for detail, and the world in front of them, NBA players have become wine connoisseurs. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers feature most prominently in Holmes’ article, but Trail Blazers CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard, and Evan Turner draw attention as well.
Then there’s McCollum, who today likes pinot noir (“We’re going to have a lot of pinot tonight!” he declared after a 50-point performance in January) and has a cellar that holds 500 bottles. His backcourt mate Damian Lillard enjoys a good riesling. Forward Evan Turner is such a fan that, McCollum says, Turner spends his off-days going to local wineries. “I didn’t even know,” McCollum says. “He told me, and I was like, ‘You’ve been doing this all year and you didn’t tell me?’ I was a little upset.”
According to this observation by Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick, Portland’s trio is not alone.
On a recent 76ers road trip, Redick looked around the team plane. Back when Redick was drafted in 2006, he often saw, say, a bottle of vodka, Hennessey, or a 12-pack of Coors Light on team flights -- and that was basically it. Now? Says Redick: “It’s pretty much exclusively wine.”
The article also has plenty of anecdotes about the older set of NBA superstars, including Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Kobe Bryant.