Inside the Bubble in Orlando, players had a lot of free time on their hands. It made for some great content all around, as several people used the opportunity to grow their personal brand. Jimmy Butler, for instance, finally got his fledgling java business off the ground and turned Big Face Coffee into a viral sensation.
In fact, a lot of that down time revolved around the consumption of beverages of some form or another, including those of the adult variety. Heat forward Meyers Leonard had his own moment in the sun as he made a name for himself for his ability to shotgun beers, a latent talent he has since been able to parlay into a lucrative partnership with Coors Light.
Like Butler, CJ McCollum used the opportunity to widen the exposure to his signature wine, Heritage 91, a Pinot Noir blend made in partnership with Adelsheim vineyards in Oregon wine country. It was apparently a huge hit inside the Bubble, so much so that Anthony Davis took a moment during at the free-throw line during the Lakers-Blazers opening-round series to give CJ props for creating such a richly-complex vintage.
Via Taylor Rooks of GQ:
Like a lot of people in lockdown in the outside world, players spent their free time inside the bubble drinking. And seemingly at the center of it all was CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, who became something of the NBA’s unofficial source for wine. McCollum stacked his hotel room with cases of his own Pinot Noir blend, McCollum Heritage 91, keeping the thermostat at a cool 65 degrees. He gifted dozens of bottles to players, and CJ’s wine became a hot-ticket item—a bubble grail. Kawhi Leonard once stopped CJ to ask questions about the Pinot Noir and say he was a huge fan. (“I got the endorsement from Mr. Leonard!”) As was Anthony Davis, who, according to McCollum, stood next to him at the free-throw line during a Round 1 playoff game to tell him: “Thanks for that wine. That shit was good.”
CJ has joined a growing consortium of wine enthusiasts among the NBA ranks, one that features most of the Banana Boat crew and scores of others around the league. CJ is also part of a highly saturated and competitive market in Oregon, but there’s little doubt that his stardom and visibility will draw plenty of interest from connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. He already has some significant fans in the NBA that can offer testimonials for him if needed.