Some think that crazy superstitions can bring some people good luck. However, is that really true? Other people think that superstitions only enslave the believer, creating heavy reliance on it for the desired outcome. Superstitions were created as a cushion to make someone feel comfortable about the worst not happening as a result of following the superstitious belief. It may be a weird way to live for some people, but for others, it is a habit that they refuse to break.
In the NBA, there are some athletes that rely on these superstitious beliefs to play the game, wishing for a winning outcome. Some athletes look for different ways to get the same impressive performance from one game as was experienced in another. They will resort to what it takes to get the same results, whether it is dressing a certain way or eating the same meal they had on the day of the impressive performance. Many of their actions appear to be bizarre, irrational, have no bearing on the game of basketball, disturbing and unusual, but to the athlete, it is well in line with their desperate effort to achieve the success that they want. Before they realize, this becomes a habit and some would say, an addiction.
Even when their superstitious actions may seem quite more burdensome than accommodating, the athletes use it to give themselves a sense of peace. In fact, sometimes, when NBA players make changes to their normal routine or they are not given a chance to perform their daily ritual before a game, it could negatively affect them. For this reason, NBA players will do anything possible to maintain their mental game, even if what they do seems insane to their fans. Superstition is a powerful force that can strongly grip a player to act abnormally. This proves that humans are people of habit, finding it difficult to change their regimen. Below is a list of those kinds of people – NBA players addicted to their own superstitious beliefs.
10 Kevin Garnett
One hour prior to the tipoff of each game, Kevin Garnet will have at least one peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Most NBA players won’t eat so close to the start of a game because they don’t want to vomit, but Kevin Garnett doesn’t seem to care. His body may have finally gotten use to the idea of food in the stomach while playing. His ritual, though, went viral among his team members. Rajon Rondo also adopted the routine prior to game time and to this day, he still does it. Some think that this must have been Garnett’s secret to his heightened RPM levels while he played the game. However, this is only speculation.
No one knows what good it does Garnett either to be banging his head into a basketball net stanchion prior to each game. Many have noticed that the head banging has even gotten worse since Ray Allen went off to the Miami Heat to join LeBron and Wade.
9 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is known for introducing long shorts to the NBA basketball game. Some of you might want to know why. It had nothing to do with making a fashion statement. Well, like Garnett, Jordan is also superstitious. In his North Carolina Tarheel days, the basketball shorts were too short for the tall and lanky Jordan. So he remedied the situation by putting on longer shorts under his shorter shorts. This may sound weird to you, but a player will do what he has to do to feel comfortable. With a profession like his where players sweat a lot, two shorts is not a bad idea.
In another instance, people wanted to know whey Michael Jordan stuck out his tongue during intense plays. Some think it is related to hereditary while others believe it just a gesture that helps him to concentrate. No one knows exactly if this was one of his superstitious moves or just a signature move. Jordan is one of the NBA players who take powder and clap it into a dust like cloud before the game began. Johnny Kerr, the Bulls broadcaster was usually his target. LeBron James seemed to have caught on to it and is known for doing something quite similar.
8 Jeff Hornacek
Many players carry out various antics at the free throw line, trying to get into the rhythm and of course, for some added luck. Some will spin the ball or bend their knees several times before actually making the shot. Some players like Steve Nash will pretend that they are shooting prior to receiving the ball. There is no other player, however, with an unusual gimmick on the free throw line like Jeff Honacek. Prior to shooting the ball, he steps on the free throw line, he will wipe the side of his face three times – specifically the right side. No one questioned this because Hornacek shot an average of 87% of his free throws throughout his career.
7 Shaquille O’Neal
Big man, Shaquille O’Neal was extremely bad at making free throw shots. He was the talk of the NBA town. He would miss most of his shots. Wondering why? Well, Shaq never believed in shooting the ball the same way twice once he missed. So he would alter his footing each time that he missed his shot, even if it meant holding the ball different or changing the way he released the ball. He thought that if what he did before didn’t work, it would bring him bad luck, if he continued to do the same thing. Shaq also had a habit of chewing four pieces of gum prior to each game. He would also wear two pairs of socks and would drive on the same street to the arena each time he had a game.
6 LeBron James
LeBron James has more than one superstitious belief. He rubs chalk on his hands and throws powder in the air similar to Michael Jordan and Kevin Garnett. However, the most personalized one is the secret handshakes that he has for each of his teammates. How he remembers all of that, no one knows. It probably got into the habit of doing it so many times that it became a normal thing for him. It also has seemed to work for him.
5 Ray Allen
Since the age of 14, Ray Allen has never consumed a hamburger. He refuses to eat junk food. Taking care of his body and what he eats means a lot to him. Even though he his aging, he has an incredible body mass. In fact, he hardly carries any body fat. He has a strict daily regimen. Each day, Ray Allen naps between 11:30 AM and 1 PM. Once he wakes up from his nap, he has a plate of chicken and rice around 2:30 PM. After eating, he shaves his head dutifully around 3:30 PM. That done, he goes to the court to warm up for three hours before each game. His automated approach to the game is at a whole other level.
4 Rajon Rondo
Most NBA players or any athlete for that matter will usually take a shower after they have played a game, but not prior to the game. Not so for Rajon Rondo. He loves to take a shower before playing the game of basketball. He doesn’t shower once, but five times on the day of the game. His level of cleanliness is similar to an OCD patient. It makes no sense to most of us, but to Rondo, it is a ritual that he refuses to give up. No one could ever accuse him of being a dirty player.
3 Darrell Armstrong
Darrell Armstrong’s team relied on him for defense and bringing energy to the game. Many players find it hard to go into the game off the bench and produce the energy that Armstrong did. Players would rather enter the game at tipoff where they can build up energy throughout the initial minutes of the game. Armstrong, like the big kid he is, drank coffee filled with seven packs of sugar, which he drank before each game. He ran around like a hyperactive child on Halloween night. This was his way of keeping away and energetic for this team.
2 Jason Terry
Jason Terry's superstitious action is abnormal. He would collect all the game shorts of his opponents and wear them during the night prior to playing a game with them. This wasn’t an imitation of their shorts, but the actual opponent’s shorts. He would sometimes ask the players for their shorts or with his connections around the league, he would get them from unnamed sources. Terry feels that he has to remain linked to his opponents to keep focused on them every time they play. Terry admitted it back in his day as a Maverick:
"I sleep in the game shorts of the opposing team the night before a game," he said. "I've got buddies on almost every team, so I've collected all the shorts."
1 Caron Butler
Caron Butler’s superstition is worse than Darrell Armstrong. While Armstrong drank coffee packed with sugar, Butler drank half of a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew at the start of the game and drank the other half during halftime. He would also take 12 straws from McDonald’s or Burger King and chew them while he was on the bench. He would sometimes cut the straws before chewing on them. He would never pick up straws from Wendy’s, staying loyal to straws from McDonald’s and Burger King. That was pretty unusual, right?