Sue Bird Thinks Drinking Wine Will Add Years To Her Career, Nutritionists Say ... Nope

Sue Bird expects us to believe drinking wine is for longevity.
Sue Bird expects us to believe drinking wine is for longevity.
Illustration: Eric Barrow (Getty)

A glass of wine no matter what your profession is a borderline necessity given the times that we are in. But what about if your body is your moneymaker.


What about if you are a pro athlete?

And what if you are a pro athlete that is in the tail end of your career?

This pandemic has put a complete wrench in the plans of many players across all professional sports, including LeBron James and WNBA point guard Sue Bird.

“LeBron James’ enthusiasm over wine is a really huge tipping point for bringing wine more into the popular culture,” said André Mack, owner of Maison Noir Wines in California.

Wines derived from thick skin grapes would have more polyphenol which decrease the risk of chronic diseases. Malbec and Cabernet would fall into that category, Mack says.

Throughout the quarantine, Bird, and her partner USA soccer forward Megan Rapinoe, have hosted weekly Wine Downs on IG live. This past Saturday, the two hosted WNBA point guard Diane Taurasi and her spouse WNBA All-Star Penny Taylor as they spent a few hours discussing which player from the 2020 WNBA draft class would have the best career along with a long list of other WNBA topics while knocking back a little red vino.

As we know, throughout LeBron James’ career — more specifically since he became more open on social media — we have gotten a glimpse of his occasional red wine pairings that have permeated across the WNBA and NBA.


NBA Players like Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony and a now retired Dwyane Wade have advertised their own wine brands, or shared the brand of wine they drink sporadically throughout the season. During James’ second stint in Cleveland, he and his teammates regularly engaged in a wine testing of Wade’s brand, D Wade Cellars, on off days.

They clearly have some thick skin in the game.

Bird, no different than other hoopers, has taken up drinking the occasional glass as, at 39, she inches closer to the dreaded “4-0”. During a conversation on Monday with ESPN’s The Jump, Bird shared that her wine spark came from James, and jokingly hopes will help her, if not beat Father Time, run parallel to it — even if James, so far, has found a way to build a healthy lead.


“I’m sure all of you follow LeBron on Instagram, seems like the wine is working,” Bird told The Jump’s host Rachel Nichols.


But registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Vanessa Rissetto pushed back on wine’s health benefits — although some are better than others — but she does understand why people gravitate toward consuming it as a way to ease stress. If you decide to consume a glass of wine with food, be weary of the fact that your body can only break down one thing at a time, she says.

“The body sees alcohol as poison and it has to break it down to its original form of ethanol and then a byproduct and then move it away from the bloodstream,” Rissetto added. “That takes work. When there is less sugar there is less work for the body. And the food that you had gets stored as fat. The body can’t do multiple things.”


As far as the anti-aging flavonoids, antioxidants exist in wine but they also exist in higher percentages in fruit which is key in slowing down the rate of internal aging this is why Rissetto would prefer you choose fruit over wine. Adding that women who drink wine open themselves up to insulin resistance and higher probability of breast cancer.

“That’s like saying it’s a chocolate and chocolate is good for you. You know how many dark chocolates you would have to eat to get the benefits?” Rissetto added. “The thing is everyone’s looking for an excuse to drink, that’s it. It’s fine with it.”


Athlete or not as we wade through these uncertain times, if you choose to consume a glass of wine, use as a stress reliever. While of course drinking responsibly.