If you opened up the weird talent Hall of Fame, Caron Butler would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His talent? Butler has a habit of chewing straws and can pick out straws from any major brand (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc.) just by chewing on them. That particular skill was developed by an addiction that, at a certain point, got Butler in trouble.
In 2004, Butler was the foundation of the trade package the Miami Heat sent to the Lakers for Shaquille O’Neal. Soon after joining the Lakers, Butler became friends with Kobe Bryant. This was Kobe eager to prove he can win without O’Neal. This was the beginning of Kobe fully actualizing himself as the leader who demanded everyone be the best they can be. So what does this have to do with straws?
Well, a part of Butler’s strange passion for chewing straws was connected to his Mt. Dew addiction. By his own admission, Butler would drink about six 12-ounce Mt. Dews a day. It didn’t take long for Kobe to figure out something was wrong.
“He’s just like, ‘Man, you look good, your game is sharp, but you be like, getting winded sometimes. You’re huffing and puffing a little bit too much. You’re a Mercedes Benz; you’re a hybrid; you’re not supposed to be huffing and puffing like that. What type of fuel you using?’”Caron Butler, The Lowe Post
Butler lied at first. He told Kobe he was keeping a clean diet, but you can’t hide such large amounts of Mt. from your teammates. Particularly if that teammate is a suspicious Kobe Bryant.
“I literally had a Mountain Dew, a one-liter or two-liter [bottle], and I immediately tried to hide it, and he was like, ‘Man, come on, man, you can’t be putting that in your body, what the hell you doing, CB?’ And from that moment, I was like [expletive], I’m gonna stop drinking Mountain Dew. And I just pivoted away from Mountain Dew for probably about the remainder of the season, which is probably five months, six months. But the second I went to Washington, I was back on that [expletive]. I couldn’t stop, man. But I held true to it.”Caron Butler, The Lowe Post
When he arrived in Washington, Butler instructed the ball boys to get a Gatorade cup, go to his locker and pour him a Mt. Dew with ice. He is still convinced they helped his performance. ‘Hey, 20 [points], every time, buckets.’
I’m no nutritionist, but I’ll side with Kobe on his one. Not really sure Mt. Dew is on the list for the optimal diet. This goes to show leadership is like an iceberg. You only see a little part of it; most of it happens beneath the surface.
P.S. You’re still suspicions about the straws, aren’t you? Ye of little faith.