Categories
Beer Drinks Sports

Michelob Ultra and NBA Jam Debut Nostalgic Limited-Edition Cans Ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend

Before “Kobe!” was the rally cry of shooting your shot, “Boomshakalaka!” or “He’s on fire!” was often heard on many a court, thanks to the iconic NBA Jam video game franchise from the 90’s.

As the official beer partner of the NBA, Michelob Ultra is bringing back those nostalgic feels to basketball fans everywhere during NBA All-Star 2022 this weekend, in celebration of the league’s 75th anniversary.

Through a partnership with the EA Sports franchise and some of the ’90s most legendary players and personalities, Michelob Ultra is encouraging fans to “Enjoy it Like It’s 1993” by bringing the game to life both virtually and on-the-ground in Cleveland.

To transport fans back to the 90s, the beer brand is releasing NBA Jam-inspired, limited-edition cans featuring iconic catch phrases and images from the game in select bars around Cleveland, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Boom Shaka Laka’s barcade (a retro ’90s barcade pop-up) during NBA All-Star 2022.

By tweeting a selfie to @MichelobULTRA using #ULTRAJAM, fan photos will be transformed into their own individual 16-bit avatar inspired by the game.

You can head to EnjoyItLikeIts1993.com to score merch from the NBA Jam ‘Time Capsule Collection’ and ultra-limited premium items that will be dropping throughout NBA All-Star 2022, including limited custom NBA JAM x ULTRA arcade consoles.

Michelob Ultra has also partnered with original NBA Jam characters and legends Clyde Drexler, Dikembe Mutombo, Dominique Wilkins and James Worthy as well as NBA Jam in-game announcer Tim Kitzrow to remind us of the joy the game brings.

“There is something special about ‘NBA JAM’ and the power it had to bring real joy to so many people over the years,” said three-time NBA champion and seven-time All-Star James Worthy. “I’m excited that Michelob Ultra is giving me the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane with fellow legendary players and fans.”

If you’re in Cleveland this weekend, you can experience the 90s IRL via Boom Shaka Lakas. The experience will include performances by Fat Joe and DJ Jazzy Jeff as well as meet & greets with the NBA legends mentioned above.

Categories
Culture Features The Katchup

Six Odd Ways Food Has Shaped The Modern NBA

“I’m always looking for a good story and am always looking for a way to build connections with readers and athletes. The culinary world and food, it’s one of the few things that makes us all human,” shared ESPN Senior NBA Writer, Baxter Holmes, on a recent visit to Foodbeast’s The Katchup podcast.

Holmes has been the writer behind some of the most intriguing stories in the NBA that just so happen to be food-related, uncovering fascinating anecdotes the likes of the NBA’s obsession with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and even how San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich used extravagant dinners to build the team’s enviable camaraderie.

A hot-button discussion that strikes a chord with foodies and basketball fans alike, the following are a quick rundown of some of these compelling NBA food tales as told by Baxter Holmes.

 

KOBE’S BONE BROTH

According to Holmes, the very first food-related NBA story he wrote was on Kobe Bryant’s special bone broth that he would have before games in the latter stages of his legendary career. “I remember talking to [the Lakers’] strength and conditioning coach about everything it takes to get Kobe up and running, because he was older in his career and had a lot of injuries.” That coach mentioned that they made sure the Black Mamba got his soup of specially made bone broth before games, since the collagen in it was optimal for joint health. “They would contact hotels ahead of time to make sure hey had all the right ingredients, and [Kobe] liked it in different ways.” Father Time stays undefeated, folks.

 

DWIGHT HOWARD’S SUGAR ADDICTION

“He was consuming so much sugar everyday. His hands were tingling because of it and he was having a hard time catching a ball.” In 2013, Dwight Howard was dealing with a serious addiction to sugar, as Holmes revealed in one story that the big man was consuming 24 chocolate bars’ worth of sugar every day — for more than a decade. It all came to a freighting head when Howard started experiencing pre-diabetic symptoms, which thankfully was a wake up call to change his diet immediately.

 

THE LEAGUE’S ODD OBSESSION WITH PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY SANDWICHES

“I would see peanut butter & jelly sandwiches in every locker room before games and I would see them in training facilities.” This James Beard-Award winning Holmes article was a fascinating glimpse into the NBA’s secret addiction to the classic and humble sandwich. Why? Well, simply put, it’s comfort food. No hidden benefits to recovery, no special potency to aid in performance — all they wanted was a soothing memory from childhood. Kevin Garnett had to have strawberry jelly, while Damian Lillard preferred his toasted.

 

EXTRAVAGANT TEAM DINNERS THE KEY TO SAN ANTONIO SPURS’ SUCCESS

“He’s been into wine and food for a long time, like 50 years. And he’s been doing this with the Spurs for like 20 years.” One of Holmes’ more recent stories was an extensive revelation on how San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, with the help of his extensive knowledge of wine and food, used extravagant, Michelin-star caliber wining and dining to build camaraderie within the organization. The close-knit team culture created as a result of these dinners has translated to multiple championships and an organization-wide togetherness that’s become the envy of the entire sports world, and not just the NBA exclusively. Holmes explains, “The amount of people who were involved with the Spurs, still involved with the Spurs, they described these experiences as the backbone of the camaraderie that you would see on the court.”

 

STEVE KERR USED CHARCUTERIE BOARD TO HELP REVOLUTIONIZE BASKETBALL

“Using cranberries and Marcona almonds, Kerr was like ‘Here’s how we want to function.'” When Steve Kerr first came on board as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, he envisioned a potent offense, but hadn’t really constructed and schemed it out yet. At an airport bar, a bartender asked the new coach how the offense would run. Kerr, working with what was immediately available to him, used elements of the charcuterie board he had ordered to illustrate how players would function within his system. Four years and three championships later, the Golden State Warriors have cemented the capability of their high-octane offense predicated on ball and player movement and three-pointers galore — all of which have shaped how the modern NBA game is played today.

 

THE PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS COMBAT THEIR BRUTAL TRAVEL SCHEDULE BY BEING COFFEE SNOBS

I think it’s safe to say that the Portland Trailblazers are coffee snobs. Nevermind the Portlandian factor, but the team’s penchant for quality coffee was documented by Holmes as a way to keep the players fresh and alert. We’re talking the team’s training and performance staff grinding beans and brewing fancy French press coffee right before the start of the game. And with the Blazers having to travel more miles over the course of a season than any other team in American professional sports, it’s understandable that their sports performance specialists become baristas right before tip-off. “They’re traveling 250 miles a day. Imagine if every single day you flew from New York to Pittsburgh — for eight months,” illustrated Holmes.