Winner of 2018 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Feature Reporting: “The NBA’s Secret Addiction” Baxter Holmes ESPN The Magazine


As the Warriors’ PB&J ban persisted, Walton upped the stakes: He began telling flight attendants he wanted PB&J … or nothing. Then on Dec. 11, after the Warriors beat the Celtics in double overtime to improve to an NBA-record 24-0, players again asked for PB&J for the flight to Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back. Again, Penfold said no. “Who needs peanut butter and jelly when you’ve got Vegemite?” Penfold joked at the time, referencing a famously distasteful Australian food spread. The following night, the Warriors lost to the Bucks. “I have to believe we lost a game because of it,” Warriors GM Bob Myers said then, tongue firmly in cheek – perhaps stuck to the roof of his mouth. “I think you can trace it to the peanut butter.”

Finally, Walton called in the heavy artillery: Curry, the MVP guard. The sharpshooter had become a PB&J devotee during the 2014-15 season, when, during one halftime, Curry complained of hunger and the team’s strength and conditioning coach whipped one up. From then on, Curry’s PB&J (for the record: Smucker’s strawberry, Skippy creamy) became his go-to pregame meal. “If you look at Steph’s warm-up, some of it is sensical, some of it doesn’t make sense,” Myers said. “But if peanut butter and jelly are part of our routine, to take that away from him, it was actually an irresponsible thing to do from the outset.”