‘Jalen and Jacoby’: Talking NBA Finals, NBA Plane Gambling, and Tom Brady’s Dance Moves


Jalen Rose and David Jacoby break down NBA Finals Game 5, ask if this is “The End of the Road” for the Cavs, do a deep dive on NBA plane gambling practices, and ponder Tom Brady’s dance moves.

Listen to the podcast here.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast: 

Jacoby: Tim Grover just told us on SiriusXM NBA that social media and access to entertainment makes travel worse on players’ bodies. This is from Brian Geltzeiler — sorry if I said your name wrong, @hoopscritic. Shout-out to the Fast Break icon, though. So basically what his, Mr. Grover’s, theory is, is that players with their — they’re always on their phones, doing social media, or they’re always watching movies. And, like, because of this, this technology has made it such that they don’t rest as much on planes. And they don’t get as much rest because there’s so much stimuli from this sort of, like, new wave of technology. If I had a flag in here, I would throw it because I think this is B.S.

Jalen: So let’s just — who’s traveling on the plane? You have the coaches, you have the players, you have the training staff, you have the media. OK, so we’ll just say in a vacuum — ownership, GM, whatever. We’ll just say 50 people.

Jacoby: Yeah, that’s about right.

Jalen: All right. When 50 people get on an airplane, they all feel different about if they’re going to be able to sleep or rest or watch a movie. That’s just how it goes. Me? That’s a planned sleep for me.

Jacoby: Jalen will fall asleep before the plane is off the tarmac every single time.

Jalen: Correct. And so everybody’s scenario is different, but also, that’s a camaraderie time for the players. Because, remember, you get so juiced up to play the game, it takes, it takes you a little while sometimes to just come down off that emotional — off that emotion, and the adrenaline is still flowing. And you’ve been running up and down the court for two and a half, three hours. It takes — that’s like trotting. OK? It takes a minute to come down. So what are things players like to do? They like to gamble. Because they’re competitive.

Jacoby: Well, that’s the thing. It’s not, it’s not like they — playing cards have been around for decades … centuries. It’s not like, oh, now that we have Twitter we’re not sleeping on the plane. You know what I mean? There’s always something to do on a plane.

Jalen: We shoot craps, but a lot of times you don’t want to shoot craps because you’re in the aisle, and the money on the floor, and the dice go everywhere.

Jacoby: Turbulence can be a problem, there’s no real wall to roll the dice against.

Jalen: Yeah, it’s not a real gentleman game for the plane. So you play bourré, you play in-between, you play poker, you play blackjack.

Jacoby: What’s the most you’ve ever lost on a plane ride?

Jalen: Most I’ve lost on a plane ride? Not too much, probably, maybe 5K.

Jacoby: Yeah, what’s the most you’ve ever won on a plane ride?

Jalen: Like 30.

Jacoby: What’s the most that someone still owes you from a plane ride?

Jalen: Nothing.

Jacoby: Never ever ever?

Jalen: Nah, because you gotta have the bread before we stretch the next day. We’re not even dealing with any of that.

Jacoby: So how does that go? You’re flying to somewhere, to an away game. Someone owes you money, and a teammate owes you money. They have to have that money in cash before, what? The bus from the hotel?

Jalen: But here’s … different teams operate different.

Jacoby: OK, let me know, Jalen.

Jalen: First, you hope the people have the cash. OK, you don’t go to Vegas and gamble and be like, “I’ll be back tomorrow to pay.” It doesn’t work like that. Normally, you have the cash. The gentleman aspect comes when you know how much each other make. And we know where each other work. So you’re really not going to go too far. But lastly, you don’t want any negative feelings to carry into practice. Like, that’s a business transaction. Let’s handle the transaction before we start to play basketball.

Jacoby: Does anyone, has anyone been a sore loser?

Jalen: Yes.

Jacoby: So, are you going to tell me who was the sorest losers that you’ve played, that you’ve gambled with in the league?

Jalen: No I’m not.

Jacoby: Yes you are, Jalen. Yes you are.

Jalen: Not going to be able to do it.

Jacoby: Yes you are, Jalen. All right, I’ll sneak the question in later on a different pod and you’ll do it. I know how to do this with you.

Jalen: That’s a digital underground. Kiss me and I kiss you back. Certain things we operate with mob rules.

Jacoby: OK, all right. Remember you said that, because I’m going to get you to tell me on a different pod. I’ll wait, like, three months and I’ll ask that question again and you’ll definitely tell me.

Jalen: OK.

Jacoby: So how do you get the cash, though? I’ve always wondered this. I don’t have a lot of money so I never have, like, I’ve never had to get $5,000 cash. Where do you get it from?

Jalen: The bank.

Jacoby: What if it’s Sunday?

Jalen: You make six figures. You can find a way to get money anytime.

Jacoby: How do you do it?

Jalen: You plan.

Jacoby: Does someone go to, like, the hotel lobby ATM and take it out $200 at a time? That’s a lot of fees, Jalen. That’s a lot of fees.

Jalen: But here’s the thing you gotta remember: It’s also a hustle and it’s also a gamble. So you’re thinking tomorrow night on the plane, even if it’s Sunday night, I’m gonna have my bread. I’m gonna be ready for these boys. I’m going to rake up all of the money. So you’re planning for it. It’s not like you’re just showing up to donate. That ain’t the plan.

Jacoby: What’s the most, like — I’ve always wondered about this. Like, oh, NBA players gamble on planes. But you can’t gamble 10 people at a time. You know what I mean? Like it’s usually, like, little packs.

Jalen: That’s why I named multiple games.

Jacoby: So, is there like little parts of the plane, like, oh, bourré’s over there …

Jalen: Correct. Like in Vegas — like a casino.

Jacoby: Oh. Who’s in charge? Like, is there a pit boss?

Jalen: Normally who’s in charge is the vets. The vets have to be in charge because here’s the dynamic: You can’t have a guy making $10 million a year gambling against a minimum guy. And they’re both gambling for $15,000 to $20,000. That’s toxic. That’s all bad. Hey, young fella, hey, whoever, like no. You out of your league.

Jacoby: But if you are a very confident 22-year-old that was the best basketball player in your high school and in your college team, and you’re gambling, you’re a competitive person — you have to be just to make it to the league — you’re not going to let somebody tell you, like, no, you can’t do that.

Jalen: But that’s where you, as a teammate, you police one another. And also, somebody is losing money. OK?

Jacoby: Yeah, that’s real money.

Jalen: Exactly. Somebody is losing money, so again, you don’t want your teammate to be without his bread in a handful of years. Then you’re feeling bad.

Jacoby: What percentage of planes would you gamble on?

Jalen: Seventy-five.

Jacoby: Really? So you’d sleep, you would sleep and then you would gamble?

Jalen: Yeah. Pretty much, or the other way around.

Jacoby: Is it always cards?

Jalen: I like cards and craps. I don’t play poker. That’s another thing I’ve never done: I’ve never played poker.

Jacoby: You’ve never played poker, just you and the homies, hanging out, you’ve never just — a friendly game of poker? You’ve never done it?

Jalen: I went to Chris Paul’s poker tournament and didn’t play.

Jacoby: Why not?

Jalen: Didn’t even sit at the table.

Jacoby: Why not?

Jalen: OK. I just, I’m not interested in it.

Jacoby: Do you know how?

Jalen: No, I’ve never tried to play. Like, as you get older, it’s all about convenience and energy. Like, things that I’m not interested in or people that I don’t want to deal with, I don’t spend energy on them.

Jacoby: That’s fair. Here’s the thing about poker I don’t like: Me and you play blackjack, I like to play blackjack a lot. Right? Because I’m only going to lose the money that I put out there. If you’re playing poker at any given time, all of your money is at risk. At any given time, all of your money is at risk. I don’t like that. You know what I mean? I like little doses of gambling. Oh, I’m going to bet 50 on this one. I’m going to bet 25 on this one. Not “I’m going to bet all of it right now.”

Jalen: Right, because to be successful gambling, it has to be gradual. OK, I’m doing well, now I’m going to bet more. Or I’m not doing so well, I’m going to idle my bets back. To your point, that becomes one big hand.

Jacoby: And the other thing, it’s like, do you know what the — the best attribute that a good poker player has is this: patience. Guess what David Jacoby doesn’t have when he’s in Las Vegas? Patience. Like, I’m not going to wait around and fold seven hands until I get a good hand, and then get a bad flop and then fold that one and then fold seven more. That’s just not how I get down.

Jalen: And that’s why, when you’re watching the Washington Wizards play, and there’s three seconds to go in the game, Paul Pierce has no problem making the pressure shot because he has patience. And I will venture to say he’s the best poker player in the NBA.

Jacoby: Really? He does have a reputation for playing poker. I do not want to play poker against Paul Pierce. I do want to play poker against Jalen Rose. I bet I could beat you. I’m not even going to teach you the rules right. Maybe I can get that done.

Filed Under: Grantland Network, Podcasts, 2015 NBA Playoffs, 2015 NBA Finals, NBA, David Jacoby, Jalen Rose, Tom Brady, Gambling, Cleveland Cavaliers