Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Kateasa Blair has another entertaining article for A Stern Warning today.

Battie gum

Lang Whitaker, writer for SLAM, posted a picture on his Twitter of Tony Battie placing his gum on the scorer’s table.  Disgusting, right?  It could have been worse.  He could have picked it back up later, and ate it again, as one coach did.  That infamous moment was known as “Gum Gate.”  During a game vs. Wisconsin, Thad Matta accidentally spit out his gum, in the heat of the game I’m guessing, only to bend down and pick it up…and put it back in his mouth.  He said that he didn’t realize what he was doing.  I think he was just following the 5-second rule.  Maybe nasty habits are just a basketball thing:

Kobe jersey wipeDuring his Spike Lee-directed documentary, Kobe Bryant said that he wipes his hands on his jersey to keep them from drying, because if they get dry, he can’t grip the ball.  So, if he’s wiping his hands on his jersey to wet them, what is he wetting them with?  His sweat!  Okay, so a sweaty ball doesn’t seem so bad, but there are players like Steve Nash, who may be in trouble. 

While at the free throw line, before he shoots, Nash licks his fingers, as does Chauncey Billups and Greg Oden.  Nash claims, “Licking my fingers helps me keep a good grip on the ball.”  So, if Nash is in a game against the Lakers, and Kobe is constantly rubbing his hands on his jersey, and he (Nash) goes to the line and licks his fingers, what is he licking?  Kobe’s sweat!  Not to mention whatever the ball picked up as it rolled on the floor, was kicked around, and landed in the crowd.

Reigning MVP, LeBron James doesn’t lick his fingers while at the free throw line, but he has another habit that many mothers slap out of their kids.  While sitting on the bench, King James bites his fingernails, ferociously.  So he goes back on the court, dribbles the ball, and touches players, after he’s sat on the bench with his hand in his mouth!  So, if the Suns are playing the Cavs, and Steve Nash gets fouled and goes to the line…  LBJ also sticks his mouthpiece in his sweaty headband, which means, he will later put his mouthpiece in his mouth.  People may think, “but it’s his sweat,” but Bron Bron tends to get knocked down during games, so his head makes contact with the floor, and whatever is on the floor will get on his headband.  I doubt those floors are clean!

Speaking of Cleveland, after Anthony Johnson unintentionally busted Mo Williams eye, he (Williams) claims to have come out on the floor to shoot his free throws with blood still on his hands.  We can hope that they replaced the ball, but how can we be sure?  Or maybe he meant metaphorical blood on his hands. Let’s not forget that many players compete while they are sick: Lebron has played with a cold, Michael Jordan has played with the flu, etc.  I understand that the NBA is a brotherhood, but swapping spit, sweat, blood, and who knows what else is a bit much!