Last Friday, I took the day off work at the last minute to help take care of my kids, one of whom had a pretty rough little stomach virus.
Then, Thursday night, I realized that I was fighting that very same virus, although I didn't get it nearly as badly as others.
Anyway, I found myself, Friday morning, not doing much parenting, but instead stuck in bed feeling pretty darned queasy. I almost never take sick days, because I hate sitting around when there isn't, say a hammock and a beach involved.
I was quickly bored.
So I did a little blogging.
As I was technically "off" for the day, it seemed like the perfect time to finally bang out a funny little post that had been in my mind for some time about the Cheesecake Factory, and how NBA players seem to just love that place.
Almost as soon as it was published I started getting email. Possibly more emails than I have ever gotten about any post in the history of TrueHoop. Cheesecake Factory staffers, NBA fans, NBA journalists, and even NBA players have piped up in various ways to essentially confirm the essential theory that NBA players love the Cheesecake Factory.
Then, imagine my surprise when my grandfather was reading the New York Times this Sunday and spotted a little item about TrueHoop, which included the line: "... it is posts like Abbott's recent one on the popularity of the Cheesecake Factory among N.B.A. players that make [TrueHoop] a must-read on an esoteric level." (Thank you, Fred Bierman and Benjamin Hoffman for that mention.)
This story has been a real eye opener. Especially when I went to Getty Images looking for a nice big photo of a piece of cheesecake to accompany this post.
What I have learned is that "cheesecake" is the female equivalent of "beefcake," and it turns out there is indeed nudity on Getty Images.
This Cheesecake story has legs. And some of those legs belong to women in old black and white photographs who could, by the letter of the law in many workplaces, get people fired.
So, no photo with this post.
This story's other legs belong to NBA players, who are, as we speak, making their way to booths at Cheesecake Factories across the nation.
The first post on this topic has some great comments that are well worth the read. Here is some more of what I have heard from various people since the original post:
Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog quotes DeShawn Stevenson saying he took advice from Cheesecake Factory employees: "I asked DeShawn Stevenson about his promise to find a new celebration besides the hand waggle, something different and unique. 'Yeah, it was a good game though,' he said. 'You know what, I was at Cheesecake the other day and the guy who brought my food at Cheesecake said, 'DeShawn, why you don't do this any more,' [while demonstrating the move]. I said, 'Nah, I think it's kind of played.' He was like, 'Man, everybody loves it, you've got to go back to doing it.' And if it does give me an identity on this team and with the fans, why not?'"
TrueHoop reader Jin: "I wanted to add one theory about why NBA players might go there so often. In my hometown (Sacramento) and current residence (Irvine, CA) the Cheesecake factory is one of the only chains open later at night. Pretty much everything is closed down by 9 or 10, but the Cheesecake factory always takes people until 11, 11:30, and I've never felt rushed to leave after hours."
TrueHoop reader Danny: "In between games 6 and 7 of the 2005 finals, I met a friend at the Cheesecake Factory here in San Antonio, and nearly half of the Pistons team walked in and sat at the table next to our booth. They were pretty cool to listen in on, and anytime anyone asked for an autograph, all the players would ask Elden Campbell if it was cool, and he would politely turn them away. They were in pretty good spirits, except for Rasheed Wallace, who spent the entire dinner working on his PSP. As they were walking out, Beno Udrih walked in and placed a to go order. It was a little surreal."
TrueHoop reader Anthony emails: "I was down in Newport Beach about three years ago visiting some family and we ended up eating dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in Fashion Island. We sat down and for some reason we started having people come up to our table then walking away sad. When the waitress came back we asked her what was going on. She told us that Kobe was seated there before we were and he just left. We got all excited and asked her how she felt and she said 'It's no big deal, he comes here all the time and I went to high school wife so I have known them for years.'"
TrueHoop reader Steve: "For better or worse, the Cheesecake Factory has Asian food, burgers, pizza, pasta, other Italian dishes, and traditional American fare. Plus, of course, the Kobe Burger. I've heard if you consume the body of your enemy, you gain his power, so maybe that's what some players are after."