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Friday, February 29, 2008
The Cheesecake Factory Did Not Pay Me to Write This

In some ways, I have been working on this post for years, just by listening to things that NBA players say. They talk about a massive spectrum of things, of course, from AAU to Zydrunas Ilgauskas. But sprinkled in there among the things players talk most frequently -- you hear it again and again -- is the Cheesecake Factory.

Nowadays, if ever someone tells me that they bumped into an NBA player out in public, I like to stop them mid-sentence and guess: "Was it at the Cheesecake Factory?" It can make you look like a freaking genius, because once in a while, you'll be right. (If that doesn't work, I ask if it was at P.F. Chang's. Those two together account for a ridiculous percentage of player sightings nationwide.)

People always want to know what it's like to be an NBA player. I feel pretty confident that one of the easiest and most accurate things you could do to live just like an NBA player is to eat a meal at the Cheesecake Factory.

Why do so many players love it so? Why aren't they eating at the fanciest restaurants in every town? And what's wrong with room service and a nap? And don't teams cater a lot of meals?

Here are my best guesses:

So, unless you're among the millions who have actually seen NBA players at Cheesecake Factories, you're probably thinking to yourself: How do we know that Henry is not just making this up? Are players really eating at the Cheesecake Factory all that much?

Google has my back, although I'm sure this is only the beginning of the evidence one could put together: