Zach LaVine is a 19-year-old kid, and 19-year-old kids occasionally swear. So no one should have been especially shocked when the former UCLA guard uttered an expletive after hearing his name called by the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 13th overall pick at this year’s draft. Clearly, he was enthusiastic. “It’s a really good situation for me,” LaVine says. “It’s a great coaching staff with really good talent, and I’m excited to be going there.”
Similarly, no one should be that shocked either to learn that LaVine eats just like many other teens eat, with a preference for candy and fried food. “My favorite is Roscoe’s [House of] Chicken and Waffles,” says the Seattle native of the California chain. “Whenever I’m in L.A., I always go there and get the Roscoe’s No. 1 with two waffles, two sides of chicken, and the ‘Sunset Drink.’” (That’s fruit punch mixed with lemonade.) Perhaps a decadent order for a pro ball player, but LaVine, who may stand to add a few pounds to his 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame, says his diet will likely improve when he gets to Minnesota. “It will change for the better,” he says. “But you’ll have your cheat days and go back to your old ways of eating.” Here, a look at LaVine’s ways of eating now.
The No. 1 staple in the fridge of the No. 13 draft pick is Gatorade. But the Bothell High standout says he doesn’t drink the sports beverage to improve his performance, but because he can guzzle it down more easily than water and other hydration drinks. “It just tastes better to me,” he says. “When you’re playing, you’re don’t care what you drink — you’re usually just too tired.”
Now & Later: It was one-and-done for LaVine at UCLA, but that still gave the guard’s teammates time enough to recognize his obsession with this bite-sized taffy candy. “They always went and looked in my locker and my bag for them, so I had to keep them secret,” LaVine says of his fellow Bruins. Today, LaVine says he still keeps the candy in his kitchen. “I buy a couple packs just to snack on around the house,” he says.
Muscle Milk: LaVine likes Muscle Milk so much that he’ll slam back up to three of the ready-to-drink protein shakes per day. “It helps your recovery and it puts in extra calories and replenishes the muscles,” says the (unsponsored) player. But there’s a caveat to his fondness for the shakes. “I can’t drink anything but chocolate,” he says. “I don’t even like any milk but chocolate. When I eat cereal, I barely touch the white part.” Does he know that if you let Cocoa Puffs sit long enough, the milk turns to chocolate?
: “I put Tabasco sauce over everything,” says LaVine. “Or I put it on pretty much anything that wouldn’t taste gross — I mean, I wouldn’t put it on salad, but I like it on fried chicken, nachos … a lot of stuff.” Whether the guard knows it or not, hot sauce is actually a healthy addiction: Studies show capsaicin — what gives Tabasco sauce its spiciness — can lower levels of inflammation.
DQ Cookie-Dough Blizzard: “It’s one of my favorite snacks,” says LaVine of this Dairy Queen classic, which amounts to blended chunks of cookie dough in vanilla soft serve. “If I get to spoil myself, I’m going to DQ. I always had it growing up, so I stick to it.” For those who haven’t had the frozen treat, the newly minted Timberwolf says it’s best to amend the order. “I always get extra cookie dough,” he says.
Pasta: Right after the draft, LaVine celebrated going to Minnesota with a big plate of chicken fettuccine at the classic Manhattan Italian restaurant Carmine’s. Fettuccine, along with spaghetti and other pasta shapes, are also what the guard eats before and after games. “I like to get a salad or fruit in me — just some good energy food — and then a plate a pasta with a breast of chicken,” says LaVine of his pre-game routine.