The Celtics started the NBA’s peanut butter and jelly revolution

"We're going to need PB&J in here every game now."

Kevin Garnett is credited with formally endorsing the PB&J revolution in its earliest phase.
Kevin Garnett is credited with formally endorsing the PB&J revolution in its earliest phase. –Barry Chin / The Boston Globe

Despite the ever-increasing dietary complications and stipulations of modern athletes, the NBA has developed a surprisingly simple food addiction. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a timeless staple of kids everywhere, is now a central component of professional basketball.

And the Celtics, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, were the originators of this league-wide trend.

As Holmes describes in his feature, the 2007-2008 Celtics started the league down its path to PB&J addiction. After an unknown Celtics player made a nonchalant request for a PB&J to Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo, Kevin Garnett spoke the decisive sentence that set the league’s addiction in motion.

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“Yeah, let’s get on that.”

And after walloping the competition that night, Garnett decreed what would happen from that point on.

“We’re going to need PB&J in here every game now.”

The rest, at least for the 2008 Celtics, is history. Winning the NBA championship, the Celtics had simultaneously legitimized the PB&J. Within a few years, as Holmes notes, the slow migration of PB&J addiction to other teams was helped by members of the 2008 Celtics leaving for other teams. Along with their on-court game, they brought the secret of the PB&J as a pregame snack.

In 2017, the secret is out. Many teams now utilize the sandwich and are fiercely loyal to it. When the Golden State Warriors’ new head of physical performance and sports medicine tried to ban the PB&J in 2015, players (as well as acting head coach Luke Walton) rebelled.

The legacy of Kevin Garnett is one that Celtics fans will never forget. And yet, along with his charisma, leadership and will to win, the memory of Garnett will now always be tied to the trademark snack that he helped to standardize: the PB&J.