Spend a few hours running around an NBA court chasing a ball and bumping sweaty bodies, and you're bound to smell when all is said and done. But I've always wondered if there was a specific NBA player who is known for being particularly smelly.
Because sometimes a question is too important to not have an answer, I attempted to find out. Most of the NBA players I talked to weren't very quick to throw a particular baller under the bus, but many pointed to a particular sub-group of players as most likely to smell offensive.
"This year? I haven't had any guys in terms of perimeter players. Last year they had a guy on Minnesota's team, [Mickael] Gelibale, who was pretty stinky," Wizards guard Garrett Temple said. "And just to be honest, most of the time the guys that don't smell too good are not from America. I'll just put it like that."
Jazz guard Diante Garrett agreed.
"Yeah, it's usually those guys," he said, when asked about overseas players. "Sometimes they have that different kinda stench to themselves."
Polish player Marcin Gortat, who, for the record, I have never found to be particularly rank, stood up for his European brethren.
"That is not totally true," the Wizards' big man said of the foreign guys being the most rancid. "Unfortunately I've caught a few Europeans smelling bad, that's true. But I would say it's an easy way to escape for American guys to say that."
Jazz guard Brandon Rush offered some vague evidence to support Gortat's claim.
"I'm not gonna name names," he said in talking about foul-smelling players. "Maybe one or two I can think of off the top of my head that smelled bad. I can't name names because one is my old teammate."
We'll just call that today's blind item. Which former teammate of Rush's needs to shower more?
"You gotta suck it up," Rush continued. "Some guys would throw him hints, like 'You forgot your deodorant today' or something like that. Or, 'Did you use body wash today?' Because the dude actually showered all the time. He just never put on deodorant."
Gortat, still defending Europeans, said that body odor isn't even the most offensive smell on the court.
"There's a different thing," he told me. "It's not even about the smell from the jersey or not taking showers. The worst part is when your breath stinks bad. I would say there's a lot of kids coming into the league from college and I don't think they're taking care of their teeth and stuff. I don't think they use dentists a lot because some of their breaths are just ridiculous."
If you're keeping score at home, it's Europeans and rookies in the finals of the NBA Smell Bracket.
When I asked Andre Miller his opinion, the odor train went totally off the rails.
"The only thing I can think of is somebody passing gas on the court," he said. "It happens a lot, but nobody's gonna claim it. It happens, probably, every eight or nine games. We look at each other, like, 'Was that you?' If you don't, they'll blame it on you."
Apparently there are a lot of noxious odors going on in the NBA.
But to bring it back around to the pits, I began to wonder if some players might smell on purpose. Sort of like a street court-style defense mechanism.
"If there's somebody that prides themselves on something like that, then they win," said Jazz forward Richard Jefferson. "If they're doing it on purpose, they win. But someone's smell has never deterred me from guarding someone. I have a job to do. If you're sweaty or smelly or too tall, too short, it doesn't matter. I have a job to do and some jobs are messier than others."
Or, just smellier.