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Boris Diaw shares his love of coffee with the Jazz

Lang Whitaker

Boris Diaw is known for his versatility on the court, as well as his dedication to caffeine off of it.

Recall last season when Diaw, then a member of the San Antonio Spurs, not only had a espresso machine installed in his locker, he took it on the road as well.

Diaw took the machine along this summer, when he visited the Grand Canyon…

This season, however, has seen a change of scenery for Diaw, as the Spurs traded him to the Utah Jazz, who were looking for veteran leadership on a roster already featuring several exciting young players.

And according to a story from the Wall Street Journal, Diaw is not only providing leadership early on, he’s been doing it through coffee. As Ben Cohen writes …

The Jazz’s growing coffee group already includes several players, coaches and executives who sip espresso before practices and home games and visit hip coffee shops on the road.

The person most responsible for their awakening is Diaw, who brews espresso for the Jazz, because he believes drinking coffee is a team-building exercise. The other reason Diaw stops by his local coffee shop at least once a day is that he is simply obsessed. He has an espresso machine at home. He has one in Utah’s practice facility. He’s already working on a third for the Jazz’s arena. He also has informed opinions about Nespresso pods. And he keeps a mental list of the best coffee shops in NBA cities based on their walking distance from the team hotel.

For as long as the NBA has existed—decades before the recent wave of research on the performance-enhancing benefits of caffeine—basketball players have downed coffee before games. But no one drinks more or knows more about coffee than Diaw. He is, after all, French. Diaw has been steeped in coffee culture ever since he made France’s national team. He was only 19 years old, but he liked socializing with older players, which meant he learned how to drink espresso. Diaw had to take his coffee with sugar back then. That was a long time ago.

“I drink it straight,” said Diaw, who is 34, between drinks of an espresso-based blonde mocha and bites of avocado toast.

Diaw’s interest was apparent as soon as he entered the NBA. He brought a cappucino to his very first workout, and he still walks into practice holding a cup. But it was in San Antonio where his basketball career and his coffee behavior changed. Diaw not only won a title with the Spurs, but also helped usher in the era of small ball, which has transformed the game in such a fundamental way that one NBA executive last season privately called Diaw a “transcendent player.”

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