NBA-Branded Caviar Hopes to Be the Way Cooler Gatorade
NBA players are rich. Their median salary is $2,785,000, according to the site Basketball Reference, and as such, many NBA stars have acquired a taste for the finer things in life. Last year, the NBA’s wine obsession was a huge story after ESPN published a long read on “The NBA’s Secret Wine Society,” leading to the revelation that, among his many talents, LeBron James has a “supercomputer”-like brain when it comes to wine. But 2019 might just be the year that pro basketball’s love of caviar comes into focus — at least if the people at Pearl Street Caviar have their way.
The New York City-based caviar brand has recently teamed up with NBA LAB, the league’s research and development incubator, to release a line of NBA team-branded caviar tins. The Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and Golden State Warriors have all gotten their own caviars — available in slim 12-gram “personal size” tins and classic 30-gram tins — in two different varieties: Siberian Select caviar or the pricier Keluga caviar.
The new venture began with a soft launch online this week (yes, you can go buy NBA caviar right now if you like), and the hope is to eventually get these branded caviars into the team’s respective arenas. In fact, the company says that tins may be available in the luxury suites at the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center and Miami Heat’s American Airlines Arena during both teams playoff runs. (Better luck with your team and your caviar availability next year, Knicks fans!)
Of course, the big question becomes, uh, why NBA caviar? Is wealth the only tie-in? Quite the opposite, Pearl Street Caviar spokeswoman Lucy Pollack tells me. In fact, she bills caviar as the “next great health food for elite athletes” — but even then, the hope is to sell their sustainably-sourced sturgeon roe at a low enough price point where even casual athletes (or just plain old caviar fans) can afford it.
“We heard that a lot of the NBA players are looking to alternative food choices as a way to ramp up pregame and calm down post game,” Pollack says. “We believe caviar is one of the best foods for athletes. It has more omega-3s per ounce than the best salmon and is packed with essential nutrients…. It’s like a way cooler sports drink.”
Meanwhile, NBA LAB has been actively looking to create more “outside of the box” partnerships, and caviar was apparently right up their alley. Since the partnership is still young, Pearl Street has yet to sign on any individual players to do for caviar what Michael Jordan did for Gatorade, but player sponsorships are in the works, as well as discussions with team nutritionists about the benefits of using caviar in a sports’ capacity.
Still, Pollack says that Pearl Street’s main goal is to sell caviar to everyday folk. The brand works directly with a farm to keep prices down, including selling the 12-gram personal tins for $25. Eventually, Pearl Street even plans to sell tiny, single-serving tubes of caviar that will cost between $12 and $15 each. Pollack says that despite the small amount, caviar is packed with enough nutrients that it will make for a solid daily pop. “If you’re buying a green juice that’s $15,” Pollack states, “potentially caviar could be falling under that category as well.”