Watch out, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade: There’s another basketball player vying for the title of MVE (Most Valuable Enophile). New Orleans Pelicans power forward Nikola Mirotic is making a name for himself both as an athlete and wine spectator thanks to a vinous bet made with fellow Pelican Jrue Holiday.
When Mirotic scored a hefty 30 points in last Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets, Holiday promised to buy his teammate a bottle of wine every time he repeated the feat. Mirotic, who only hit the 30-point mark once last season, responded to the incentive by scoring 36 points during the very next game—a career high! Holiday was later spotted taking wine suggestions in the Pelicans locker room.
“I don’t even drink,” Holiday said, according to local news outlet Nola.com. “I don’t even know what to get him.”
He eventually made good on his end of the deal: A bottle of McEvoy Ranch Montepulciano 2014 was waiting in Mirotic’s locker on Sunday. The bold choice of a lesser-known Italian grape planted in Marin County aptly reflects the scrappy style of play that has led the Pelicans to a 3-0 season so far, while a wine-less LeBron led the Lakers to a winless 0-3 start.
McEvoy Ranch expressed excitement over being chosen as the Pelicans player’s reward, but for now, the North Bay winery and farm remains loyal to its own Golden State Warriors.
“We’re impressed to hear about Nicola’s 36 points and even more impressed with Jrue’s astute taste in wine,” McEvoy Ranch general manager Samantha Dorsey told Unfiltered via email. “We’re looking forward to seeing the Pelicans here at Oracle Arena on Halloween night for a good scare from our hometown Dubs!”
If Mirotic scores another 30-plus and helps the Pelicans win against the reigning NBA Champs on their home turf, perhaps Holiday should make a quick drive up to California wine country to get the next bottle straight from the source.