The casual NBA fan knows Milwaukee Bucks PJ Tucker for his never-ending collection of rare sneakers, style, and eye-catching designer outfits that he arrives at the arena in. All around the league, the experienced striker is one of the versatile players that every coach would like to have for himself.
Last season when he was with the Houston Rockets, the team went small and placed the 6 & # 39; 5 & # 39; & # 39 ;, 245-pound Tucker in the middle, temporarily protecting opponents, which were 60 pounds heavier and 5 inches taller. He accepted the challenge enthusiastically.
"Real talk, I'm only built for it," says Tucker. "I love that. This is my game and I'm looking forward to it and I appreciate being able to fight and do this at my size. I've worked my whole life and it's amazing to be able to do this at the highest level where I can basically the same size as I've been in eighth and ninth grades. (laughs) ”
The Bucks were traded in for the battle-hardened striker in March and hope his playoff experience battling the Supernova-era Warriors a few years ago can be a missing piece in a Bucks title run this season.
Tucker, who was selected as a 2006 second-round draft pick, has spent considerable time in each NBA city learning about finding some of the best restaurants in the country. Tucker shares some of his best culinary choices, as well as his newfound snack obsession and the agony his wife goes through while indulging in his favorite indulgence.
What do you think about the postseason with your new team?
We are ready. We have a very good team this year and I'm just looking forward to getting the playoffs off the ground. So we play this game to play on the biggest stage and the goal is always to win a championship. My big focus was getting used to the guys and our coaching team, which was important. Playoff basketball is what it's all about.
You have always been known as a pancake eater. How did you come up with avocado toast?
Avocados only give you these healthy fats and it's very light. rmally I would eat pasta or pancakes, but avocado toast is really light and I like the way it makes me feel and I like the taste too. I now love going to different places and trying different versions of it. There are many different ways you can do it with different types of breads and toppings. My wife and nanny would eat it every day. They always asked me if I wanted any and I would say, "I don't want any of this mess." I didn't even use avocado unless it was on a sandwich. I finally had a piece with them one morning and I really enjoyed it. I didn't feel as full for six hours as I did after eating pancakes. It all started there and now I roll with foreplay.
Do you now need to eat more before the games?
Sometimes I need a little more, but even with the pancakes I have a different protein and some granola bars. I love loose granola so I always have a large bag of loose granola to eat throughout the day. I will also eat almonds all day to satisfy hunger. Depending on the time of day, I set it up pretty well where I'm not hungry during the game, but if I eat it a little early or if I'm really hungry, I'll just grab a smoothie and be cool. I really like green smoothies. Kale, spinach with a little orange and other fruits - I'm all about the green smoothies.
Many athletes are very regulated when it comes to diet and meal time. Do you fall into the category?
, every player is different. You can ask 100 players and get 100 different answers. Some people have cooks, they prepare meals and all. To me, it's literally how I feel when I wake up. I don't take naps before games. I like to eat and then take a walk around town, especially in the street. I'll eat, go for a walk, return to the hotel, relax, and watch a movie before the game. I have such little quirks, but the night before a game and the morning after it just depends on how I feel.
I'm 15 years old. When I was younger at the beginning of my career it was different. It has changed so much and it took me some time to figure out what was best to eat and when. It was trial and error. There have been a number of games where I ate too much or wrongly and I didn't feel good. It is sure to be trial and error.
Are you one of those people who end up in a city early in the morning and can get something to eat right away?
That is changing too, and it really depends. You may find yourself in a three-game-in-four-night stint, run to E, and then have to grab something. Sometimes I'm there or I'm not hungry at all. It just depends on how you are traveling, at home, and that's why I'd rather not try to stick to a plan because things keep changing.
Quickly name your top five restaurants that you have eaten at during the season.
It's hard for me because there are categories ... I like Kin Khao. It's a Thai place in San Francisco. I'm going to New York with Sushi Zo. That's crazy, it's super private and really difficult place but definitely one of the best meals you will ever have in your life.
I'll say the "Turkey Leg Hut" in Houston too. If you like turkey they are amazing. The line is around the building and it's insane. Make sure you have a crib, pillow, and blanket so you can go to sleep afterwards (laughs). I'll also go back and say San Francisco again with The Slanted Door. San Francisco is by far my favorite city in the world. Every time we go there there are so many restaurants.
Lastly, I'll be rolling with a place in Phoenix, Matt's big breakfast. It is like that, my family and they never miss it. It's the best breakfast you have ever had.
Judging from your IG stories, ice cream seems to be your weakness. There would always be this ice cream parlor that you would visit frequently ...
Creamistry (in Houston)! Right there I can't refuse. If I drive past it, I have to stop. I'm the ice cream guy and it's hard to refuse even if my body doesn't agree to it. (laughs) Every time my wife sees me with it she says, "Oh no!" I say yes!" She gets hot, but I'll go anyway. "
What would your foreplay normally look like if your routine wasn't set in stone?
At the moment it was my avocado toast. I'm from rth Carolina so my grandmother used to make spicy pork sausage that is pan fried. This is just from my childhood and it makes me feel at home. So it goes well with toast and a smoothie. I like to go for a walk after I've eaten and go shopping on the go. I often look for new sneakers. I like to get some fresh air and get my body moving before the game, so I go for a walk. I know a lot of players like to sleep and lie down in hotels, but I like getting my body moving because I don't nap before the game. Obviously it takes about an hour of my time to get dressed before I go to the arena and that's a big deal because getting dressed is very important to me. I meditate too, so I get 15 minutes every day to imagine what I'm going to do in this game and it puts me in the mindset to go into battle and get a victory.
BONUS SHOT: P.J. Tucker 3 favorite dishes:
Turkey leg shack in Houston:
- Hennessy glazed turkey leg with lobster, dirty rice, and a side of mac and cheese.
The slanted door in San Francisco:
- Pappy Van Winkle 20 years Bourbon or Raveneau Chablis
- Crunchy Imperial Spring Rolls
- Cellophane pasta
- Shake the beef
- Key Lime Cotton Candy
Matt's Big Breakfast in Phoenix:
- Frying Pan Cake (full order)
- Scrambled eggs with cheddar
- Crispy hash browns, diced with sautéed onions and jalapeños, coated with cheese
- Strawberry lemonade