JJ Redick and More NBA Players Stock Up on Wine Inside the Bubble: 'It Provides an Escape'
Players described wine as a simple treat to help them unwind while quarantining away from their outside life
J.J. Redick made sure to stock up on wine before being under quarantine for the NBA season — and many of his peers seem to have had the same idea.
According to a new report from ESPN, the restarted 2020 pro basketball season (which features a shortened schedule and isolates 1,400 players in a "bubble" for the duration) has seen players order plenty of wine for off-the-court enjoyment.
When Redick, 36, realized there weren't any wine options at his Orlando, Florida, hotel that were up to his standard, he took matters into this own hands. "I need to remedy this," he recalled to ESPN.
The New Orleans Pelicans star's next move was to order a shipment of his favorite wines, plus an 18-bottle wine fridge to house his drinks, the outlet reports. As for why having wine on-hand was a priority for Redick? "It provides an escape," he explained.
One member of the NBA staff's facilities team, Vernon Peterson, told ESPN that a bulk of the packages they've received lately for athletes are "definitely wine." He said the shipments hail from wine brokers, clubs, shops and vineyards from all over.
Heather Messer, who deals with shipments and other administration duties for the pro basketball events, told ESPN that she's noticed "a lot" of wine packages.
"I think after you work these long days, it's nice to unwind," said Messer. "It's a relaxing thing, and it's a reminder of home."
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Messer added that some issues arise when the beverages don't arrive with explicit addresses and only list "NBA" as the receiver. Sorting through the deliveries and getting the wine to the proper connoisseur can prove challenging.
"Every time we get excited when we have a wine box that's not labeled, and we think, 'If it sits here for 30 days, it should go to us,'" Messer joked. "But they never last more than two days. Somebody is always calling to say, 'Hey, I ordered some wine. Where is it?'"
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Another athlete, Josh Hart, told ESPN he ordered a 20-bottle wine fridge, adding that Bordeaux and Napa Valley cabernets are his go-tos. "Obviously, there's a little bit of alcohol, so it gets you more relaxed and loose," said Hart, 25. "But the bigger thing is, this is an uncomfortable time in terms of not being with family, not being in your own house, your own bed for at least six, seven weeks."
"I have my video game setup, and I was able to have wine, so I still have some type of normalcy, I guess," Hart said of life in the bubble. "It kind of gives you a ... sense of, like, grounding and normalcy, even during this uncomfortable time."