- In the latest Anything But Basketball, Suns star Eric Bledsoe discusses family, competition and the important role played by his life coach.
It’s time for the latest entry in The Crossover’s Anything But Basketball series, in which we interview players about their lives strictly off the court. Joining us for this edition is Suns (and maybe soon to be Cavs?) guard Eric Bledsoe, who was kind enough to chat with The Crossover earlier this summer.
Bledsoe is a seven-year veteran of the NBA, as well as a father of a five-year-old girl and two-year-old boy. He’s spent the last four seasons of his career in Phoenix, where he’s sharpened his rep as one of the league’s most consistent two-way guards.
On behalf of Beyond Meat, Bledsoe spoke to The Crossover about his diet, taking his daughter to gymnastics practice and more.
Rohan Nadkarni: Why did you decided to start eating less meat?
Eric Bledsoe: To help my body out. When I was injured, I began eating healthier because I couldn’t work out. I tried Beyond Meat, and it’s pretty good. I was caught off guard with how good it tastes. I cut down on meat a lot to help me recover.
RN: What kind of stuff were you eating before you really took care of your body?
EB: Fried foods all the time. Cane’s. Burgers. In-N-Out. I couldn’t work out when I was injured. My body didn’t feel right. I cut out all that fast food. When I couldn’t work out I had to be eating better.
RN: Is it hard not to just eat fast food all th,e time when you’re on the road a lot?
EB: Oh, for sure. I grew up eating fast food all the time. I developed that taste for it. As I got older, I started to teach myself to reverse those habits. I had to tell myself I can’t have it. We have a lot of 19-year-olds on our team now, I hang out with them a little bit. They get it all the time. It’s tempting. My kids as well. I have to tell myself not to eat it anymore. It’s hard, for sure.
RN: What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
EB: Ice cream. I love ice cream. Vanilla Blue Bell.
RN: What do you do to take yourself away from basketball?
EB: Just hanging out with my friends, family. That’s the most important thing. You’re around the game so much you don’t get a chance to have quality time with them. When I’m not around the game, I always try to spend time with friends and family, especially my kids. They don’t know anything about the game right now. They just know how to smile, even if I have a bad game or anything like that. In the summertime, they always have a big smile on their face because they’re just happy to see me.
RN: How do you like to spend time with your kids?
EB: My daughter, she loves gymnastics. I take her to gymnastics and watch her compete. It’s fun to see something you have rub off on your kids. My son, as much as I love to get away from the game, he really does love basketball. He just wants to shoot on this little hoop I got him. It’s just awesome to see them smile all the time.
RN: Is it hard for you to make sure you don't get too competitive at gymnastics? What kind of sports parent are you?
EB: Oh, for sure. You have definitely have to toe that fine line and not push her too hard to compete, because she’s still a kid. At the same time, you still have to be a father and tell her it’s going to be all right when it doesn’t go her way. But you have to tell her she can’t quit and she has to keep fighting. You definitely have to draw that line.
RN: Do you try to intimidate the other dads?
EB: I definitely do [Laughs]. But it’s all fun, it’s a fun sport for kids to learn and compete. And showing them to be careful. That’s the main thing, I just want to be there for her.
RN: I read that you were using a life coach for a little while. What did that help you with?
EB: Being confident. Doing interviews like this, without thinking so much. Life. How are things going? How can I help in the community? Just a little bit of everything. It really was a great idea.
We’re human at the end of the day. We still have people problems, human problems. We definitely have to have a good supporting cast to help us along the way. Most of us are 18, 19, 20 years old coming in, we’re still mostly kids at the end of the day. We don’t have life figured out. Anyone who can help me, I’m going to take their advice.