Pacers The Stuffed Of Legend At Bub's Burgers

Let's get to the meat of the issue here.

It weighs 22 ounces after cooking, is sandwiched between two monster buns (loaves?) and layered with multiple slices of cheese along with lettuce, pickles and assorted accoutrements. And it's called the Big Ugly.

Made famous by its recent celebration on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food program, Bub's Burgers in Carmel has for years offered up the Big Ugly Challenge. Eat one and you get a small photo on the wall of the restaurant. Eat two and you get a bigger picture. Eat three and you become the stuffed of legend, as only two others have ever accomplished that feat of epicurean engorgement.

Sounds like just the place for a bunch of guys who've spent all summer on strict diets, trimming weight and body fat in preparation for the rigors of an NBA season, right?

In an effort to build some team chemistry, not to mention have a little fun, the players organized an outing last week. First came laser tag. Then came the trip to Bub's. The order is important here. Think about the floor of the laser tag center had they eaten first.

Of those on hand, Roy Hibbert had been on the strictest diet, shedding 20 pounds, doing MMA training, going through boot camp with Bill Walton in a summer program that bordered on the obsessive. And yet, in the interest of team unity, he faced the Big Ugly.

"I didn't want to be that guy that didn't have a burger," he said, "so I decided just to go ahead."

According to witnesses on the scene, Hibbert ate like a man who's been a strict diet all summer. Which is to say the Big Ugly disappeared quickly.

"I finished that whole thing," Hibbert said. "I could've gone for two but with one I knew I was going to feel it the next day. It was quick. It was nothing. I could've eaten the second one and gotten a bigger picture on the wall but it was fun. … I ate so well this past summer, having an indulgence day was fun."

While knocking down one Big Ugly wasn't a major hurdle for the players, only two made it through the second round: 6-10 center Jeff Foster and 6-11 power forward Lance Allred.

"They're 340 pounds, of course they ate two," said Danny Granger. "Roy ate one in like a second. Seriously, in five minutes Roy was done with his. The rest of his took 30 or 40 minutes.

"I almost puked after three-quarters of a burger. Have you seen it? It's a full pound of meat. You're just so sick of eating meat … they had to grab me a bucket. I had to lay on my couch four hours after I got home."

Foster must've spent some time watching professional competitive eaters. He separated the meat from the bun, dunking the bread in water to help it go down more easily.

"If it wasn't for the bread I could've eaten three," Foster said, "but the bread was a little much.

"I felt fine afterwards. It was the next day when I didn't have to eat breakfast and had the taste of burger permeating through my mouth and nose till 1 o'clock in the afternoon."

Having had time to digest the events of the day, the players felt strongly about what was accomplished. With such a young team and so many players new to both the NBA and the city, it was important to begin developing a team bond.

"I've never had such fun with my teammates," said Hibbert. "We feel real relaxed and can communicate with each other really well off the court. I think it's translating. I know it's early but I can feel a difference."

In fact, these outings are probably going to become a monthly event.

"A little laser tag, a little meal," said Foster. "It was a good day."

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