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19 January 2023 Cheribundi Marketing
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The Indiana Pacers breakout caught up with GQ about gaining weight, trying sushi for the first time at Malibu Nobu, and the importance of getting as much sleep as possible. 

Speak to anyone in basketball circles about Tyrese Haliburton, they will gush over his IQ and efficiency. It's a cliché, sure, but he plays the game the way it’s "supposed" to be played. In his third season, the Indiana Pacers guard is averaging just shy of 20 points, leading the NBA in assists at just over 10 a game, on 47 percent shooting from the floor and 40 percent from three. It’s that level of praise, production, and advanced stats that had many basketball pundits scratching their heads when he fell to the 12th pick in the 2020 draft—and those same pundits absolutely perplexed when the Sacramento Kings traded him last season. Now, in his first full season in Indy, it’s almost certain he’ll be making what should be the first of many All-Star appearances. 

GQ caught up with Haliburton to discuss how he maintains weight, his ever-expanding palette, how his trainer helped shift his mentality entering this season, and the pre-game massage that’s essential before he sets foot on the court. 

GQ: Like most players that come into the league, a priority is placed on adding weight. How big of a focus has that been so far for you?

Tyrese Haliburton: I would say my rookie year, that wasn’t so much a focus as much. I think COVID had a lot to do with it, because there was only a limited time you could spend in the gym at a given time. I would say in my second year, I took a bigger jump there by hiring a full-time chef. Having someone with me every day that’s making sure I’m eating the right things—correct portions has been very important for me. Here in Indy I have a chef as well, and she’s been amazing for me. It’s just important that I have someone holding me accountable but it’s also me eating the right things. I’m not the greatest cook, so it would be a lot of eating at restaurants if it were left to me. Even though you can still eat the right things, having a chef is more catered to me. A lot of it is not as much putting on weight, but it’s maintaining it. The summer is more about putting on weight but during the season, it’s hard for me to maintain weight with all the playing and traveling we do. 

You’re an investor in the wellness brand Cheribundi, who makes cherry juice. How have you worked the products into your day-to-day?

I try to drink two to three a day. It’s important for me because the older I get—know I’m only 22, so it’s crazy for me to say that (laughs). The more years I play in the NBA, it’s like I wake up and I have random pains that bother me sometimes, so I’m trying to decrease that as much as possible. I feel better when I drink the products and I think it’s just good for me all around. Not only for my body health but for my immunity. It’s just been really good for me. 

Me and my girlfriend religiously live by the products. Everyone in our organization knows that after games I need a Cheribundi in my chair (after games) and one before I go to sleep. I definitely live by that, and it helps me knock out quickly. It’s important for me to get my rest because I’m in so many different beds throughout the season with traveling. I want to get as much sleep as possible to be ready for the next day. 

What’s a typical off day of eating look like for you?

Breakfast is probably going to be a little bigger. I love French toast, so it will be a big plate of French toast, eggs, and bacon and I always have a smoothie with every meal basically. Lunch would probably be a sandwich of some sort. I love grilled cheese and tomato soup. It’s normally something not super heavy. For dinner, I’m a big, big pasta head, so it’s usually a big plate of pasta with some rolls and a Caesar salad with another smoothie. I’ll drink a night shake before bed with ice cream, protein, and a bunch of stuff to just kind of hold weight and go to sleep. 

I’m not a big vegetable guy but I do understand the importance of them. My palette has really expanded. Anyone who knows me can speak to that, especially since my rookie year. It’s just about getting the right foods in my body and eating things that will keep me playing at a high level. 

With that palette expanding, what are some things now that are central in your diet, and what things have you eliminated?

I would say things I’ve learned to like are vegetables in general. The only vegetables I used to eat were carrots. But there are still times now when I don’t want to eat vegetables. My chef does a great job with green juices, so they’re all in the juice and I’ve learned to like it. I don’t even have to chug it anymore! I just drink it like normal. That’s been awesome for me in terms of when I’m on the road. When we get to places that are by the water—I’ve become a big fan of sushi. It’s crazy and I don’t know how I’ve gotten here, but I love that stuff. Being in California was easy, but now being in Indy and being landlocked, I don’t really trust the sushi here as much (laughs).

Things that I’m not eating as much? I don’t know if it’s anything specific. I guess the thing would be—obviously I’m trying to put on weight. Being 22 and with my metabolism, I can kind of eat what I want for the most part, but I try to eat things that I know are good for me to decrease the amount of inflammation. I love a good cheeseburger, so I’ll try and decrease the amount of times I’ll eat a cheeseburger. I ain’t going to lie to you and tell you I don’t eat it because it happens from time to time. But it doesn’t happen nearly as much as when I was a rookie. 

What’s been the best place you’ve eaten at so far in your career? 

Maybe I’m thinking of this first because it’s fresh in my mind and we were just in LA, but I love Nobu in Malibu. That’s a big spot for me. I try to go there when we go to LA. My agent usually takes me. That’s actually the spot where I first tried sushi, so it holds a special place in my heart. That might be a basic answer, but it’s my answer. 

Out of all of the things you worked on this summer with your trainer Drew Hanlen, what would you say you’ve benefitted from the most?

I would say the thing that’s paid the most dividends for me is just my approach. Drew has challenged me mentally probably better than anyone ever has — just with the mentality shift and staying aggressive and getting shots up. If you look at it, my numbers relative to my field goal attempts are crazy. The more shots I take—obviously, you’re going to have better numbers—but I’m kind of a perfectionist and I want to be an efficient basketball player. But at the same time, I have to do what’s best for our team. Sometimes efficiency has to go out the window for the betterment of our team. I would say the biggest challenge that he’s given me, and that has been working for me right now, is just trying to challenge that mindset of shooting the ball more and staying aggressive because it opens everything up. 

Can you walk me through your game day routine?

I’ll usually wake up in the morning, and eat breakfast. As I eat breakfast, I might take my dog on a walk. If I don’t, my girl will. Sometimes, I’ll usually cop out on game days because I don’t want to walk. We’ll probably watch an episode of a TV show that we’re on. We’ve been on Criminal Minds for a while. It’s an old show but we’ve been killing that show lately. My girl knows that I like to take an hour or two to partly watch game film and the other part is playing video games. It’s kind of a way for me to disconnect from the world for a little bit and relax my mind. After I do that, I’ll pick out my outfit and get dressed. I’ll eat lunch, which is the same thing every time—chicken, rice, and bread with a green juice. From there, I’ll be on my way to the arena to get prepared. 

What’s the one part of your pre-game routine that’s absolutely vital to you currently?

It’s important I see our massage therapist before our games. I always feels like that kind of locks me in—whatever we’re working on that day. Sometimes, if I don’t even feel like I need anything, we’ll just kind of work on opening up my shoulder and getting the cannon ready for the night. If I see my guy [Pacers team massage therapist Jon Christopher] before the game, I always feel like it locks me in and I’m ready to go. I never miss a pregame routine with Jon. Even if it’s just stretching, I feel like when I see him, it just locks me in for the night. 

Just as important as that is, what are you doing right after the game to be ready for the next day?

Usually, I’ll go se my family and they’ll leave. I kind of fall second on the totem pole in terms of the massage therapist after games. Buddy Hield is like my big brother, so he kind of bumps me down and he goes first. I’ll do media and then I’ll get on the massage table. I’m usually the last to leave the gym. It’s massage table, cold tub, and then I’ll drink a Cheribundi when I leave the gym and the night shake when I get home. Food-wise, it kind of depends on the day. Usually, our chefs will make pasta, and my chef at home will make me a meal also. Usually, what I’ll do is I’ll take that pasta home and I’ll have two meal choices between the pasta and what chef Whitney made. I’ll make my decision when I get to the crib. Then it’s the Cheribundi, my night shake, and sleep. 


Read full article by Christopher Cason on GQ.

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