NBA celebrities like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal had their fair share of smoking cigars. Some professional basketball players would also smoke tobacco. But with the many adverse effects of smoking, why do NBA players continue smoking cigars?
NBA players smoke cigars for different reasons. Some players find the substance relaxing after strenuous training sessions. Others professional basketball athletes to mingle with other mile-high club members.
Keep in mind that MJ and Shaq aren’t the only smokers in the NBA. Here, you can find the reasons why NBA players smoke and who are the professional basketball athletes that are/were smokers.
Yes, many NBA players smoke cigars. However, the reason for smoking depends on the smoker. Some of these sports professionals only smoke on special occasions, such as winning the season. However, some would smoke cigars inside their locker rooms before matches to help calm their nerves.
It’s still clear that smoking tobacco opens opportunities for several illnesses like lung cancer and respiratory disease. Furthermore, smoking can weaken the immune system, which can increase the risks of contracting other dangerous health concerns.
The danger of smoking cigars, cigarettes, or other nicotine-infused substances is the inhalation of addictive properties. Once ingested, nicotine activates the body’s pleasure centers, making it highly challenging to quit upon starting the habit.
Nicotine’s effects have sedative and stimulant traits. The smoker experiences a ‘kick’ of pleasure, causing the body to release adrenaline. This adrenaline surge will make the body release glucose almost instantly, causing increased heart rates, blood pressure, and breathing.
Despite the known harmful effects of cigars, many NBA players continue with the habit. If the smoker decides to quit the practice abruptly, that individual experiences withdrawal symptoms. For a professional basketball athlete, experiencing these drawbacks can reduce their performance on the court.
Why do NBA Players Smoke Cigars After Winning?
Smoking cigars is an act of wealth seen by many people. It’s akin to showing the world that you gained success. Therefore, it’s no surprise that some NBA players some cigars after winning a championship match.
Many professional NBA athletes smoke cigars after winning as part of the festivity. However, this act of celebrating with cigars isn’t only in basketball. Other sports, such as baseball and golf, have players that smoke cigars after achieving victory from grueling sports seasons.
It was Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtics coach in the 1950s, who originated the tradition of smoking cigars after winning in the NBA. This custom is still present to this day, and some players would even smoke expensive cigars to reward themselves for their hard work.
Kindly note that it’s not only the big-time NBA celebrities that smoke cigars after winning. Some athletes in the league (that are still not quite as famous as the professional basketball legends) smoke cigars to celebrate their wins.
Some players will even smoke cigars when they lose. However, the tobacco can be of lower quality and the smoker will only do this act to relax the nerves after the loss.
How Does Smoking Affect Athletic Performance?
Thousands of new smokers appear every day, and some of them are in the NBA. The professionals in this basketball league continue to smoke despite knowing its harmful effects.
Some of the adverse effects of smoking for athletes are:
Reduced Lung Health
Smoking tobacco yields decreased lung function. For athletes, regardless of their chosen sport, decreasing lung health means reduced stamina. Muscles in the body will have less access to oxygen, which leads to fatigue at a faster rate than normal.
Additionally, smokers suffer from shortness of breath. Since the muscles, especially the heart, demand additional oxygen to function well during acts of athleticism, the lack of oxygen can lead to individuals gasping for air.
Impaired Circulatory Health
Another adverse effect of smoking is blood constriction. If the blood vessels constrict significantly, the body can experience high blood pressure. Failure to remedy this health concern while continuing unhealthy habits, such as smoking tobacco, can lead to heart failure or cardiac arrest.
Also, the muscles will not receive enough blood and oxygen because of the constricted blood vessels. In turn, smoking can reduce muscular endurance, which can lead to early signs of muscle fatigue while playing sports.
Increased Risks of Injury
The reduced functionalities of the heart, brain, lungs, and other body parts because of frequent smoking can increase the risks of injury on- and off-court. For instance, the lack of oxygen delivered to the brain can reduce the player’s cognitive abilities, increasing the risks of those individuals making poor decisions.
Plus, smoking tobacco can reduce overall bone health. Like the muscles, proper bone well-being is vital to performing properly in basketball and other sports. If a basketball player has poor bone health, that athlete will feel pain while making movements like running and sprinting, especially when landing after a jump. Failure to remedy this concern can result in the player retiring from the league.
Which NBA Players Smoke Cigars?
Many NBA players are cigar lovers. Some of these athletes have been smoking tobacco even before they entered the league.
So here are some of the true cigar celebrities of the NBA:
Without a doubt, Michael Jordan is one of the most iconic faces of the NBA’s history. Fans across the globe have seen his tongue-out, slam-dunking face frequently and loved every moment of those instances. Jordan even won the MVP title five times, led his team to six NBA championships, and made 30 points per game on average.
Is Michael Jordan a cigar smoker? He wouldn’t be on this list if he wasn’t. This slam dunk lover is also fond of puffing cigars. Although Jordan likes to keep his cigar-smoking habits under the radar.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean Jordan isn’t a cigar connoisseur. Many folks saw this Chicago Bulls celebrity consuming the Cohiba Limited Edition Double Corona, Jordan’s favorite cigar. NBA employees and fans also saw Jordan ingesting his favorite cigar after getting MVP awards or when his team wins the championship. Sometimes, Jordan likes to consume cigars after playing a round of golf.
Jordan finds comfort in smoking cigars. He would also often share the relaxing vibes with fellow NBA players like Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen.
Shaquille O’Neal isn’t fond of shooting free-throws, but he likes to consume some fine Cuban smokes while staying at home.
This 7’1” ex-center for the Los Angeles Lakers and five other teams (during his career) is living the good life and showing it by smoking cigars. He isn’t shy about showing his success but still stays quite modest about his achievements.
At times, Shaq would even hand out cigars to guests in celebrations. People would even see him dip into his humidor to revel in NBA titles. Some of these titles wherein he would smoke a celebratory cigar are:
Even if the retired NBA celebrity isn’t vying for more awards from the professional basketball league, he would still smoke sticks from his cigar collection during the right occasions.
Now a TV celebrity, Charles Barkley, aka the ‘Round Mound of Rebound,’ found the love of smoking cigars from legendary player Michael Jordan. These two NBA players squared off in the court during their time. However, both celebrities would now choose a more relaxing sport during their spare time – golf.
After finishing their golfing sessions, both Barkley and Jordan would often enjoy a stick of their favorite cigars. According to an interview with the Cigar Aficionado, Barkley says that Jordan “smokes the good stuff, and he gave me the most valuable lesson ever with cigars: have two humidors. One for people who know what they’re doing, and one for people who don’t know what the f*** they’re doing. I’ve got some good cigars, and I hate it when I give someone a good cigar, they don’t enjoy it, and they leave half of it.”
Barkley also remembers the time when Jordan offered him a cigar. This 6’6’’ ex power and small forward for the Philadelphia 76ers, Pheonix Suns, and Houston Rockets got scolded by Jordan for only taking two puffs from the stick.
Today, many people can see Barkley smoking cigars when he’s playing golf. But this ex-NBA player and long-time celebrity play a lot of golf.
If you can’t get enough of NBA players slam-dunking basketball into nets, you already know about Dominique Wilkins. Earning the nickname ‘The Human Highlight Film,’ Wilkins wows the crowd with his unorthodox yet athletic dunks. His love for individual playmaking makes him the highlight of many replays.
Albeit Wilkins has never won an NBA championship, he isn’t exempt from winning certain awards. During his 15-year professional basketball career, he became the scoring champion in 1986. Furthermore, Wilkins is a nine-time all-star champion.
At times, Wilkins would smoke the M.X.S. by Dominique Wilkins cigar from A.C.E. Prime. This product has both Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, bringing medium-to-full flavors to its users, which Wilkins enjoys.
The NBA has no shortage of players with nicknames, and Karl Malone is one of those celebrities. Dubbed as ‘The Mailman’ by many, including those in the league, Malone would let his opponents know he delivers business while playing in the court.
Back in his heyday, Malone played for and with the Utah Jazz. During the height of his professional basketball career, he won league MVP twice. Additionally, Malone is a 14-time all-star champion and is one of the top players chosen for the 50th-anniversary team.
Now, Malone is enjoying life by dedicating his efforts to his business. You can see him puffing cigars from La Aurora, Malone’s personal cigar line. This specific product has a binder and wrapper from Ecuador. It also carries flavors from different regions, including Nicaragua and Peru.
Malone started the cigar business after different family trips to the Dominican Republic. It was during one of these vacations when he would know and befriend the León family, the original owners of the La Aurora brand.
This NBA superstar would then spend time in the family’s factory in Santiago to absorb as much information about the cigar-making business as he can. While he was staying in the Dominican Republic, Malone also helped develop the design and packaging of his cigar.
Although not an NBA player, Phil Jackson is still an iconic individual in the professional basketball scene. This famous coach received the nickname ‘Zen Master,’ but it wasn’t because he won different awards for coaching. Instead, it’s because Jackson owes his mental clarity to smoking cigars.
Jackson started smoking while coaching in the 2003 to 2004 season. It was when he was with the New York Knicks when he picked up a stick for the first time and started smoking. This momentous event happened after a game when he found the tensions of being a coach to become quite unbearable. He found spiritual release after puffing out his first smoke and has been quite enjoying the habit since that time.
Is it Allowed for NBA Players to Smoke Cigars?
Yes, the league doesn’t disallow NBA players from smoking cigars. However, players and other people aren’t allowed to smoke while staying inside the arena. If smokers need to smoke, they would need to go to smoking areas outside the playing and spectating areas.
Furthermore, even if NBA players can still smoke cigars, health coaches advise participants not to become too addicted to the substance. Otherwise, dire repercussions can surface, especially for the players’ overall well-being.
Many NBA players like to smoke after celebrating a win. Others would smoke their favorite cigars during their free times. Some iconic individuals in the league, such as Phil Jackson, would smoke cigars to find spiritual release from stressors.
Smoking can be a great way to release tension from the body and mind. However, smokers should always remember that nicotine and tobacco are harmful substances. If you want to smoke, do so in moderation.