How to drink wine like a NBA Superstar (without having to improve your jump shot)

Want to know what the superstars of the NBA are enjoying in their downtime? Wine! ESPN recently published an article on the NBA's "secret wine societies" where players were getting together, doing tasting, exploring awesome vineyards, and drinking some amazing wines. Far from just indulging themselves in expensive bottles, these gentlemen of basketball have become real wine lovers who can pull apart the secrets of red wine blends as effortlessly as they can hit a game winning three pointer. So it got us thinking, how do you drink wine like a NBA superstar and become just as cool as they are?

Start off with your Rieslings

We noticed a trend emerge very quickly among the NBA's finest fine wine lovers. They all started their love for wine by drinking Riesling. It makes perfect sense! No other wine out there can ingratiate you more in the wine world than a Riesling can. Not only is it a great wine to drink that has a lot of variety ranging from super dry to super sweet, but it can also be one of those varietals that helps you understand concepts like terroir. 

Riesling is also a very accessible wine to get into. It is super easy to drink, and even great wines go for less than $35. You can splurge one day on a wild bottle for $50, and then follow it up with examples that are just as good for $15. Drinking the vast array of Rieslings will also teach you what you like more in a wine, as they often range from very dry to very sweet, and flavors that range anywhere between citrus, green apple, apricots, and honey. 

Move on to bad ass Cabernet Sauvignons and elegant Pinot Noirs

It wont take long after your first sip of wine to develop a desire for something stronger, and you should look no further than Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon are some of the most bad ass wines out there, often exploding with jammy, dark fruit flavors. These wines scream decadence, and are suited to the luxe lifestyle that many NBA superstars become accustom to. It is easy to  get lost with Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Napa that will set you back $50, $100, or even $300 a bottle. Apparently Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are partial to Mayacamas Cabernets, a wine from one of the most legendary wineries in California. 

Once you have had your fill of hearty, full bodied red wines then you should indulge on the lighter bodied Pinot Noir.  While Cabernet Sauvignon is a lesson in extravagance, Pinot Noir offers an instruction in elegance, something that is the hallmark of a top NBA guard. 

Combined, a journey into the contrasts of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon will show you how expansive, and expensive, wine can be. It will teach you a lot about the value of wine, why some wines can cost $100 or more and be worth it, and how to spot a bullshitter who is making 

You have to know how to sparkle

At the heart of every wine experience is sharing, and showcasing your talents as somebody who knows a little something about wine doesn't hurt either. If you want to impress then look no further than sparkling wines, and of course Champagne. Turning up with a sparkling wine shows you mean business, but you are also here to win over hearts. Great basketball players know how to turn up the heat on the court by turning on the style, and Champagne lets you do that. 

Just ask Carmelo Anthony. Melo told ESPN that he attended a dinner with some well versed winos in New York in 2011, all of them were bringing their A-game by showing up with top notch wines from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Anthony's answer? A late 1990s bottle of Dom Perignon Rose. At the end of the night the guests selected their favorite bottle and Carmelo placed the top 3!

Details matter if you want to up your game

Athletes are like master sommeliers. Or is it the other way around? Both sets are driven by competition, but at the same time there is a closeness amongst each other akin to siblings. In the ESPN article there was a contest to determine the mix of a particular red blend. Kevin Love came the closest. The details matter, that 1% could be the difference between hitting a three pointer, or making a pass that unlocks a defense. One percent better might be scoring two more points per game, winning one more game per season, and if or where you place in the playoffs. That one percent could be the difference between a great wine and an okay wine. He would go on to brag to his acting GM at the time, David Griffin, who wraps him in a bear hug, but who also instigated tho competition in the first place after looking towards wine paired team dinners as a way to bring the team together.

Wine allows these teams to come together in a different way than any other drink. It has had the effect of uniting the team around something that they can all appreciate, while at the same time celebrating their differences. You come to the table, you share your love, your passion for something, and you give others the chance to show you who they are as well. The life of a NBA superstar is all about individual expression and talent within the construct of a team, like a magnificent red blend. You bring something to the table, something nobody else can. You blend it with what everybody else can bring and you move together toward a unified vision, winning games and championships.

You might think that drinking wine like a NBA superstar means drinking expensive bottles of wine that are hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but you would be missing the point. Its a game, a competition that brings you closer to your teammates, and creates unity. It is about self expression and appreciation for what you can do and who you are. Drinking wine like a superstar means showing the world your love, your passion, and being real about it. Let them praise you because you know how to perform, and you know how to entertain.