Sugar and Missed Shots: An Investigation

8 mins read

The Raptors are out on a six-game road trip that’ll see them up against the defending league champs, the finely honed powerhouse of a legacy Spurs franchise, an energetic Lakers squad who see themselves as the prophetic 2nd coming of the team’s glory days, the so-far so-gritty Blazers, plus the Nuggets and the Jazz, who seem.. fine.

With all that on their plates it is my sincere hope that our guys in their away-game reds are taking the time to focus on what else they’re putting on there. I’m talking about nutrition.

Maybe you think we’ve got bigger fish to fry (and I hope this is true because Omega-3s, in my opinion, are the only increased 3s this team should be focusing on), that the Raptors increased ball movement is going to bring on new problems like an uptick in turnovers, something that hurt the team in last night’s loss to the Spurs. But I’m primarily concerned about turnovers of a different kind:

We hear it time and time again: The Raptors are a young team, they’re hungry. And while that euphemism is great on the court, it’s what’s happening between games that’s worrying. Namely, what are they eating.

“These guys are professional athletes who train multiple times a day and put their bodies through gruelling games almost every night,” you might say. Or, “I’m sure the team employs a nutritionist.” Or maybe, “I don’t really think about that.” Or perhaps, “Get away from me.” All this sentiment is well and good but the hard truth remains that once you take a closer look into the eating habits of this team your stomach might start to feel sore.

Exhibit A. Here we see Lucas Nogueira making his way down the ramp to the team plane. He looks comfortable, he looks tall, he looks like someone in the prime of his athletic career who is in-tune with his body, right? Wrong. If your eyes aren’t immediately drawn to the Venti Frappuccino that somehow isn’t dwarfed in his huge hands (what’s bigger than Venti? Can regular people order it? Do you go to jail?), clutched in the desperate grip of a sugar addict, then friend, you’re not seeing the bigger picture.

Can we get a zoom on this photo to try and determine the flavour? Not really because the screencap is so blurry. But it looks seasonally tan and there’s a tell-tale peak of whipped cream on top. I’m going to take a wildly — wildly concerned! — guess that it’s likely a pumpkin spice, maybe cinnamon dolce.

Exhibit B. Delon Wright holding a similarly-toned Frapp of the same gargantuan size. He is captured mid-chug, head titled closer toward the beverage to shorten the time and the distance between its syrupy sweetness from domed capsule to his bloodstream. His hood is up and it seems we’ve caught him in some secret ritual, some private moment. Is he ashamed? Does he realize that there’s hardly any caffeine in that thing? Honestly this beverage is as big as his head.

Harmless moments captured by the Raptors social media and marketing team or cries for help indicative of a larger, potentially league-wide problem? You might accuse me of being a whistle blower but like the majority of refs in the average Cleveland game immune to calling a travel, I only really sweat the big stuff.

After training all summer, hoisting medicine balls in a sandpit somewhere, you expect me to believe that JV’s ankle would be that prone to an innocent sprain as the one that took him out of Monday night’s game? Unlikely. If we’re not digging deep then we’re barely scraping the surface here, and just like when you’re faced with the candy crust on a crème brûlée, you need to poise your spoon and plunge through. My guess is that his muscles and bones, strained and brittle from so much forced sugar intake, are prone to tear and breakage.

It’s happening all over the league. A sugar scourge that may or may not be responsible for Gordon Hayward’s foot appearing to snap off like the top curve in a candy cane, Lin’s hip coming unspooled like cotton candy being pulled from its paper cone. Early season injuries are a terrible fate to befall any player but is the NBA culpable in all of these cases? Could a league of such moral authority potentially be working to achieve some sinister end with none other than Starbucks and beyond? How big is Big Sugar (not the band)?

Imagine it, with Halloween approaching, how convenient would it be to have a league filled with giant dudes dependent on the need to consume their body weight and beyond in sustenance each and every day, not in vital nutrients, but in sugar. The normal plunge in candy sales that sees slashed prices on bags of miniature candy bars, rockets, those ubiquitous, upsetting, not-quite-caramel candies in the yellow and orange wrappers with witches on them, such discounts would be a thing of the past and instead the sales of pocket-sized sugar deliverables would soar well into November. December and the holiday season is a no-brainer when it comes to candy ingestion, sugar-plums as nefarious as a miniature box of smarties. By the time February rolls around we’ve got Valentine’s Day looming on the horizon, and with a league now thoroughly dependent on sugar the onset of spring and the promise of a new agricultural season with it’s bounty of unrefined, natural vitamins would go virtually unnoticed.

I’m not trying to scare anyone, it’s a spooky week as-is, I’m just trying to show what a slippery, sugary, caramel covered slope it can be if the Raptors Frappuccino fixation isn’t nipped in the bud.

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