Speak to anyone in basketball circles about Tyrese Haliburton, they will gush over his IQ and efficiency. It’s a cliché, sure, but he plays the game the way it’s “supposed” to be played. In his third season, the Indiana Pacers guard is averaging just shy of 20 points, leading the NBA in assists at just over 10 a game, on 47 percent shooting from the floor and 40 percent from three. It’s that level of praise, production, and advanced stats that had many basketball pundits scratching their heads when he fell to the 12th pick in the 2020 draft—and those same pundits absolutely perplexed when the Sacramento Kings traded him last season. Now, in his first full season in Indy, it’s almost certain he’ll be making what should be the first of many All-Star appearances.
GQ caught up with Haliburton to discuss how he maintains weight, his ever-expanding palette, how his trainer helped shift his mentality entering this season, and the pre-game massage that’s essential before he sets foot on the court.
GQ: Like most players that come into the league, a priority is placed on adding weight. How big of a focus has that been so far for you?
Tyrese Haliburton: I would say my rookie year, that wasn’t so much a focus as much. I think COVID had a lot to do with it, because there was only a limited time you could spend in the gym at a given time. I would say in my second year, I took a bigger jump there by hiring a full-time chef. Having someone with me every day that’s making sure I’m eating the right things—correct portions has been very important for me. Here in Indy I have a chef as well, and she’s been amazing for me. It’s just important that I have someone holding me accountable but it’s also me eating the right things. I’m not the greatest cook, so it would be a lot of eating at restaurants if it were left to me. Even though you can still eat the right things, having a chef is more catered to me. A lot of it is not as much putting on weight, but it’s maintaining it. The summer is more about putting on weight but during the season, it’s hard for me to maintain weight with all the playing and traveling we do.
You’re an investor in the wellness brand Cheribundi, who makes cherry juice. How have you worked the products into your day-to-day?
I try to drink two to three a day. It’s important for me because the older I get—know I’m only 22, so it’s crazy for me to say that (laughs). The more years I play in the NBA, it’s like I wake up and I have random pains that bother me sometimes, so I’m trying to decrease that as much as possible. I feel better when I drink the products and I think it’s just good for me all around. Not only for my body health but for my immunity. It’s just been really good for me.
Me and my girlfriend religiously live by the products. Everyone in our organization knows that after games I need a Cheribundi in my chair (after games) and one before I go to sleep. I definitely live by that, and it helps me knock out quickly. It’s important for me to get my rest because I’m in so many different beds throughout the season with traveling. I want to get as much sleep as possible to be ready for the next day.