Gatorade has been a league sponsor of the NBA for more than two decades, but earlier this week, I was shocked to see that the NBA Players Union -- apparently without consulting the NBA -- signed a deal with EAS. The deal calls for the brand owned by Abbott Labs to provide NBA teams with $5,000 worth of product and give players 50 percent discounts on its energy bars and protein drinks.
The energy bars doesn't really matter because the Gatorade energy bar is a total non-factor. But the shakes -- that is a big deal. Unbeknownst to much of the public, Gatorade does actually have protein shakes. It's part of Gatorade's niche line, Performance Series. Gatorade Nutrition Shakes -- which taste great, by the way -- have 20 grams of protein per can and are meant to be consumed after workouts for muscle recovery.
You don't see the shakes on the sidelines, but I still think it's important to have these types of drinks in front of the athletes. You can imagine what a fit the folks at Gatorade had when they found out the union did this deal.
Despite the small deal, don't expect these things to come near an NBA locker room in an official capacity any time in the near future. Gatorade -- which has spent millions on its relationship with the league -- will insist on ruling that space and they will get what they want.
The only thing they don't get?
POWERade LeBron is never drinking out of their water bottle or using their logoed towels.