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The Wizards explain their cabinet full of gum

(Sarah Kogod/The Washington Post)

The Wizards have a small basket of gum in the locker room for the players, but on Tuesday I got to see the main supply for the first time, and it was impressive. Dentyne Ice, Trident, something called Bubbaloo and the ever-popular Bubblicious, with some cough drops thrown in for good measure. But why does an NBA locker room need so much gum?

“The GOAT, the greatest to ever do it, chewed gum, so I think it’s spurred basketball players chewing gum,” Garrett Temple told me. “[Michael Jordan] used to always have gum in his mouth, chewing it while we was waiting for free throws or something like that. They’d always show that. That’s the reason I always tried to chew gum, but I got to the point where I found myself losing my breath quicker when I’d run up and down the court having to chew gum also.”

Cartier Martin also offered the Jordan explanation.

“I think a lot of guys did start chewing gum because of Jordan, and watching him,” he said. “And it just became a habit for other guys. Now it’s just kind of a trending thing in the league.”

Gum is a staple in a lot of NBA locker rooms, but apparently the Wizards gum game is particularly strong.

“I like the fact that they have Strawberry and Grape Bubblicious,” said a smiling Temple. “I hadn’t seen Bubblicious in a while, so when I got here, I was like wow. Bubblicious? So I had to chew some. I don’t see locker rooms have Bubblicious. Usually they have Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s. The Dentyne and stuff like that. But they have everything here.”

Ah, the perks of being a Wizard. And it’s a good thing they offer a variety, because the Wizards gum needs are varied.

“I get the fresh kind, sometimes when my breath smells,” Booker said. “The flavor leaves too quick on the other kind.”

Martin shared Booker’s sentiments on Temple’s gum of choice.

“My favorite is the Trident, the orange citrus flavor,” he said. “The flavor tends to go away too quick on the other ones. I need something that can maintain its juiciness.”

For real.