One day the main dish is meatloaf. The next, it could be chopped brisket or grilled chicken or penne pasta. And there’s always a vegetable.
Thunder players are never sure what will be on the menu at the team’s north Oklahoma City practice facility, but almost a month into the preseason many players have become dependant on the chow’s taste and convenience.
The Thunder contracts a local catering service to provide meals for its players every day before and after practice. The goal is to ensure players receive optimal nutrition to help keep their bodies healthy and in the best possible shape. Team officials also hope players learn the importance of having healthier diets.
Team strength and conditioning coach Dwight Daub set up the service with A Good Egg Food Service, which owns local restaurants Cheevers Cafe, Red Prime Steak and Iron Star Urban BBQ.
The caterers arrive at the practice facility between 7:30 and 8 a.m. By the time the first few players trickle in between 8:30 and 9:15, an omelet bar is available along with a griddle for pancakes and other smaller items like cereal. Following a two-hour practice, players are then greeted by the aroma of lunch.
"This is something special for me,” said Desmond Mason. "I think some of the other guys may have experienced it before. But this is a first for me, being able to come in and have full breakfast and full lunch afterwards.”
The practice is not uncommon around the league. At least 15 other teams provide either breakfast or lunch for their players, according to team spokesmen.