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Do NBA Players Actually Drink Gatorade?

All over the NBA, you can see players on the benches utilizing their Gatorade bottles. Even in NBA 2K, there are sponsorships regarding Gatorade and now you can get your very own custom bottle, just like the pros. This whole connection between the NBA and Gatorade raises an interesting question about what’s actually in those bottles.

Do NBA players actually drink Gatorade? The answer is yes, a good chunk of professional basketball players drink Gatorade on the sidelines. However, it certainly isn’t all of them. Some athletes such as Klay Thompson, have other sponsorships with competitors of Gatorade. A few years ago, Klay would often be seen avoiding Gatorade due to having a partnership with BodyArmor and their vitamin-infused water. The bottom line is that there are a lot of NBA players that drink it, but it definitely varies from player to player. 

Every particular instance regarding Gatorade and a professional basketball player is different in its own way. Some of them use the bottle for different drinks while others just hold onto the bottle due to a sponsorship even if they don’t like the drink.

Gatorade Sponsorships

Gatorade has been a sponsor for the NBA for quite a long time now. There have been years where they were the league’s biggest but have since flipped around the rankings there. When it comes to inking endorsements with top professional basketball players, Gatorade has been excellent at that. They’ve nabbed a handful of some of the brightest stars that the league has to offer. Damian Lillard was one of the most recent, who got a multi-year deal. Other young superstars such as Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, Paul George and Karl Anthony-Towns have signed deals on their own. Oh, but there’s more. Retired stars have held onto Gatorade deals throughout the years, as Michael Jordan and Dwyane Wade have partnered with them since retirement at some point after their playing career. It’s also important to mention that Gatorade reaches further in the NBA than just the top tier players they have to offer. The G-League is also heavily sponsored by Gatorade and has been for some time now. For almost any player that you see in the G-League, whether it’s a post-game interview or something else, Gatorade is likely to make some form of appearance. The G-League utilizes Gatorade’s Sports Science Institute on top of the branding to further boost their sponsorship.

Gatorade Bottles But No Gatorade

As previously mentioned, players have had a tendency to use these Gatorade bottles but not to actually drink the brand. Not all of these players want to drink a sugar filled sports drink during their basketball game. These players have very strict diets and training regiments that they must follow if they want to keep playing at the top of their game. It might not seem like that big of a deal for those of us that aren’t professional athletes, but the difference could be astounding for certain players. Plus, we’ve certainly seen more than enough NBA players back up drinking water instead of Gatorade, but those bottles are just too good to pass up. Especially if these athletes sign with Gatorade. For example, we’ve seen Kawhi Leonard sitting with Gatorade bottles or branded cups, but he doesn’t drink the brand whatsoever. Leonard doesn’t drink any sports drink in the slightest as well. He prefers to drink alkaline waters that are balanced when it comes to their PH levels in order to get the most out of his body on the floor. As you could probably expect, this situation with Kawhi occurs throughout the entire league. Another example could be LeBron James. LeBron doesn’t drink Gatorade at all, though he drinks something wildly similar, Powerade. This is due to the King having his very own sponsorship with Powerade which would give it a horrible look if he were to come out in full Gatorade gear.

Why Do Players Rip The Gatorade Label Off Their Bottles?

If you were to be watching a broadcast of an NBA game, you might have caught a player on the sidelines using a Gatorade bottle but without any branding logos or images on it. After all, the bottle itself is very familiar to a lot of people. However, you might have wondered why it is that the logos or branding isn’t there whatsoever. It all just goes back to the sponsorship deals those certain player’s sign. One example of this game a few years ago with Kevin Durant. Durant sat down to answer some questions after a game and was seen pushing the bottle away from him and out of view. Some didn’t really understand what his motives were for doing so, the bottle was still unopened at the time and the repositioning didn’t feel necessary. He did this for two reasons, the first was his own sponsorship at the time. The second was that it would act as free branding for the company. Just think about it for a second, if you were a big-league player that believes you’re at the top of your game. Why in the world would you want to support and advertise for a sports drink that refuses to offer you a brand deal themselves. I personally wouldn’t want to do that in the slightest. Even Dirk Nowitzki shared this sentiment when he was still playing in the NBA. It was during one of his press conferences after a hard-fought game when he sat down and removed the Gatorade bottom from the desk so nobody could see it. Somebody eventually asked him about it in the crowd and he responded by saying something along the lines of, “C’mon guys, I don’t get paid by Gatorade.” Gatorade always tries to slip additional advertisements and branding onto these press conferences just in case the players don’t officially notice them there. It’s smart business, but sly nonetheless and something that these guys have to deal with every time.