Why Do Basketball Players Smoke Cigars? [The Truth Revealed]

Lebron James lights up a cigar after winning the NBA championship. He savors the taste of victory, knowing that he’s at the pinnacle of his sport.

The cigar smoke swirls around LeBron’s head, and he takes another drag. The smoke fills his lungs, and he exhales – this is what it feels like to be a champion.

It’s a sight all too common in the world of basketball – players celebrating with cigars after a big win.

But why do basketball players smoke cigars? Basketball players smoke cigars because:

  1. First, smoking cigars is seen as a sign of success. For many players, it’s a way to celebrate after a big victory.
  2. It’s also a way to relax and enjoy some time with friends.
  3. The tradition started with Red Auerbach, who was the head coach of the Boston Celtics for many years. Now, many players continue this tradition.
  4. Michael Jordan popularized it. Anything the GOAT does becomes popular.

Want to learn more?

Read on!


Why Do Basketball Players Smoke Cigars? (The Historical Origins)

The tradition started with Celtics coach Red Auerbach. He would ignite a stogie to demonstrate to foes and spectators that he felt the game was “locked up” – AKA when the game was 100% over for the Celtics’ opponents.

Check out the video below:

What’s the history of basketball players smoking cigars?

In the early days of the NBA, there was one coach who stood out from the rest. His name was Red Auerbach, and he was known for his signature end-of-game ritual.

After every victory, Auerbach would smoke a cigar on the court. This became known as the “Auerbach salute.”

The tradition started in 1965 as an act of defiance against NBA Commissioner Maurice Podoloff. At the time, the NBA had a rule that no smoking was allowed in the arena.


Auerbach didn’t care. Since Podoloff was fining him an excessive amount for each ejection, Auerbach decided to start smoking cigars on the court.

This bit of body language was not only an act of defiance against the commissioner, but it also represented a message to his opponents. Auerbach wanted them to know that there was no way they could come back and win.

The tradition caught on, and soon other players and coaches were doing it too. Now, it’s become a post-game ritual for many players and teams.

Today, many basketball players still smoke cigars as a way to celebrate a victory. It’s become a sign of respect for Red Auerbach and his legacy.

So next time you see a player smoking a cigar after a big win, remember the story of Red Auerbach. And the next time you light up a stogie, think about how you might be following in his footsteps.

Can NBA Players Smoke Cigars?

Yes, NBA players are allowed to smoke cigars. There are over 250 banned substances in the NBA, but cigars are not one of them.

This is because smoking cigars is not considered a competitive advantage. Nor is it considered an adverse health hazard to the players.

The NBA has a strict policy on foreign substances. Players are not allowed to use any substance that gives them an unfair advantage or puts their health at risk.

If a player is found using a banned substance, they will be subject to punishment from the league. Prohibited foreign substances are:

  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Steroids
  • Etc.

In summary, cigars are not banned from the NBA, and players are not punished for smoking them.

Does Michael Jordan Smoke Cigars?

Yes, Michael Jordan smokes cigars – now that his NBA career is over, he smokes up to 6 cigars per day. He has even said that smoking cigars is one of his few remaining pleasures in life.

Michael Jordan’s love for cigars began when he was a teenager. His father used to smoke cigars, and young Michael would often steal one from him to try it out.

He enjoyed the taste and the feeling of smoking a cigar, and it quickly became one of his favorite pastimes.

Though he doesn’t smoke cigarettes, Michael Jordan’s cigar habit is well-known. He often smokes cigars while playing golf, and has been photographed many times with a stogie in hand.

Cigars are a big part of Michael Jordan’s persona. He has been quoted as saying, “I smoke six cigars a day. I’m not a chain smoker, but I like the taste of a good cigar.”

He knows that smoking cigars isn’t the healthiest habit in the world, but he enjoys it and isn’t going to give it up anytime soon.

Of course, cigars are not without their risks, but Jordan seems to feel that the occasional cigar is worth the risk.

So there you have it – Michael Jordan does smoke cigars, and he enjoys it immensely.

How Many Cigars Does Michael Jordan Smoke?

In a 2017 interview with Cigar Aficionado, Jordan said that he smokes “five or six a day.”

Even during his 1993 season, he was smoking before every home game. According to his teammate, B.J. Armstrong, Jordan would sit in his car and smoke for about 15 minutes to “calm himself down.”

Smoking cigars is synonymous with Jordan. Whether it’s taking a break from playing golf or basketball, or just relaxing on his yacht, he always has a cigar in hand.

Cigars are an important part of Jordan’s image and legacy. Michael Jordan says, “I’m not really big on doing things that are bad for me.

I don’t like cigarettes, I don’t like drugs. But cigars? There’s nothing wrong with smoking cigars.”

However, in 1997, during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jordan said that he had “cut back a little bit” and now smokes “three or four cigars a day.”

Whether he’s on the golf course, at a business meeting, or relaxing at home with friends, cigars are an important part of Jordan’s daily routine.

For Jordan, smoking cigars is about more than just enjoying the flavor. It’s also a way to bond with friends and business associates.

In the Cigar Aficionado interview, he said, “Cigars are about relaxation, about enjoying yourself. When I’m with friends smoking cigars, it’s a way to just sit back and enjoy each other’s company.”

What Cigar Does Michael Jordan Use?

Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona

Michael Jordan is a huge fan of Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona cigars.

He often smokes them when he’s playing golf or cards, and he enjoys the smooth flavor and the relaxing feeling they provide.

The Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona is famous because Michael would smoke one on his way to the locker room before every home game.

The Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona is a full-bodied cigar with a rich flavor of coffee, citrus, and spices. It is made with a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos, and the wrapper is a dark, oily maduro leaf.

The cigar fell out of style in the early 2000’s due to an inconsistency in quality, but it has since made a comeback and is now one of the most popular cigars on the market.

Cuban Partagas Lusitania

Michael Jordan is a celebrity who has always been known for his style and flare. He was often seen with a cigar in hand, which became one of the most iconic images of his life.

So it’s no surprise that at the height of his career he would have not just one or two cigars but dozens of them available to him, each with their own distinct flavor profiles.

But of all the cigars he’s smoked, the Cuban Partagas Lusitania is his favorite. This cigar is known for its strong, full-bodied flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate.

It’s a robust smoke that can be enjoyed by even the most experienced cigar smokers, and it’s no surprise that Jordan was drawn to it.

He’s always been a guy who likes to take risks and push the boundaries, and the Cuban Partagas Lusitania is the perfect cigar for someone with that kind of personality.

When he smoked them, Jordan often paired the cigars with a glass of cognac or scotch.

He liked to take his time and enjoy the flavor profile of the cigar, and the smoky, woody taste of the tobacco pairs perfectly with a mellow drink.

Do NBA Players Smoke Cigars? (Which Basketball Players Smoke Cigars?)

Yes, NBA players smoke cigars. The NBA is not just about basketball. It’s about the lifestyle that comes with being a professional athlete and everything that entails.

In recent years, many players have been seen smoking cigars on camera during interviews and even in post-game press conferences after their team won big games.

As we can see from these clips, it looks like they’re enjoying themselves and they’re not afraid to show it.

Lebron James

LeBron James is one of the most well-known NBA players, and he’s also one of the biggest cigar smokers. He often posts pictures on Instagram of himself smoking cigars with his friends and family.

In one post, he even joked that he was going to start his own cigar line called “LeBron’s Legacy.”

In 2021, Lebron pulled up to the Lakers-Suns game in a convertible with a big cigar in his mouth. He was clearly enjoying himself and living life to the fullest.

Steph Curry

Stephen Curry is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, and his 2015-2016 season was hailed as one of the most statistically efficient shooting seasons in National Basketball Association (NBA) history.

On April 26th, 2016, he broke Ray Allen’s record for most three-pointers in a season. Curry is also known for his love of cigars.

Steph Curry
Image via Flickr

While many people might see cigar smoking as something that is old-fashioned or even macho, Stephen Curry has shown that it can be cool and stylish.

In an interview with GQ magazine, he revealed that his father used to smoke cigars and that he has been smoking them since he was a teenager.

Cigar smoking is often seen as a sign of success, and Stephen Curry has certainly achieved a great deal of success in his career. He has won two NBA championships, been named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice, and been selected to six All-Star teams.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most dominant players in NBA history. He’s a four-time champion and three-time MVP, and he’s been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Standing at 7′ tall, Shaq is a big boy and he likes his cigars big, too.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, Shaq revealed that he started smoking cigars when he was just 19 years old. He said that he used to go to the cigar store and buy the cheapest cigars they had.

Nowadays, he’s a bit more particular about his cigars and he only smokes the best ones, such as Padron Cuban cigars.

Charles Barkley

Sir Charles is a former professional basketball player who is now a commentator and analyst for the sport.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and during his career, he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets.

Sir Charles is known for his outspoken personality, as well as his love of cigars.

In fact, he even has two humidors in his home, one for himself (premium quality cigars) and one for guests who “don’t know what they’re doing”. He told Cigar Aficionado magazine that he “treats cigars better than people.”

Why Do NBA Players Smoke Cigars After Winning The NBA Championship?

There are many reasons why NBA players (and overseas players) might smoke cigars after winning the championship. For one, smoking cigars is a way to celebrate and commemorate the victory.

It’s a tradition that has been around for many years, and it’s a way for players to enjoy the moment and reflect on all they have accomplished.

Imagine the crowd is going wild because you just won the NBA championship. You’re feeling on top of the world.

Now, what’s the best way to bask in this glory? For many NBA players, the answer is to smoke a cigar, while still wearing their jerseys.

What Kind of Cigars Do NBA Players (NBA Champions) Smoke?

The most recent NBA Champions, the Milwaukie Bucks, were seen celebrating their victory with a few celebratory Cuban Romeo y Julieta Churchill cigars.

It’s a tradition that goes back decades, with players like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal lighting up cigars after winning championships.

When the Lakers won the 2020 NBA Finals, Lebron James and his squad were smoking a Drew Estate Liga Privada, Herrera Esteli Habano Toro,  Undercrown Shade Gran Toro, and the new Liga Privada Year of the Rat.

Does Smoking Cigars Affect Athletic Performance?

Yes, smoking cigars in excess has a negative impact on athletic performance. It’s common knowledge that tobacco use, in any form, is bad for your health. A study revealed that it even has an impact on baldness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.

This means that smoking cigars is not only unhealthy for the smoker, but it can also have a negative impact on their athletic performance.

basketball players smoke cigars and that affect their performance

There are a few reasons why smoking cigars might affect athletic performance. First, cigars contain nicotine, which is a stimulant.

This means that it can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can, in turn, lead to shortness of breath and a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood.

Second, cigars also contain tar, which can build up in the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. Finally, cigars can also cause dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and a decrease in stamina.

So, while it’s clear that smoking cigars is not good for your health, it’s also clear that it can have a negative impact on your athletic performance.

Which NBA Players Were/Are Heavy Cigarette Smokers? 

Most of the smokers who we can verifiably say smoked during their NBA careers have now retired. The notable smokers include:

  • Vlade Divac
  • Arvyados Sabonis
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Hedo Turkoglu

Is It Healthier To Smoke Cigars?

No, contrary to popular opinion, it is not healthier to smoke cigars. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigar smoking can be just as harmful to your health as cigarette smoking, if not more so.

Cigar smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarette smoke, and cigar smokers are at increased risk for mouth and throat cancers, lung cancer, and other health problems.

We hope this article was able to answer the question: Why do basketball players smoke cigars?


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