Everyone enjoys a good cigar, and athletes aren’t left out of the mix. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as athletes are no doubt human beings too and who doesn’t enjoy the finest things in life?
The athletes who enjoy having themselves a premium handcrafted cig once in a while (or often, depending on their preference) smoke cigars for the same reasons that regular people do- to relax and de-stress, to celebrate a special occasion—such as winning a championship, or simply for the incredible joy and delectable taste of a fine hand-rolled cigar.
Do you want to know which famous athletes might just be smoking the same stogie as you? Here is a list of 10 sports all-stars with a love for quality cigars to match their love for the game they play.
1. Michael Jordan
Yes, the greatest male athlete of all time is a cigar smoker too so of course, he makes the top of this list. Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials MJ, is the NBA’s greatest player of all time.
Having won 6 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, 10 scoring titles (both All-time records), 5 MVP Awards, 11 All-NBA First Team designations, 9 All-Defensive First Team honors (joint records), 14 NBA All-Star Game selections, 3 All-Star Game MVP Awards, 3 steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, Jordan has more than earned his place in the NBA Hall of Fame.
According to Robb Report magazine, the NBA legend has been a cigar aficionado since 1993. It has even been noticed that whether he is just off the court after winning a game, on the golf course, out fishing, playing cards, or sitting in a locker room, Jordan usually has a cigar between his lips.
Apparently, he smokes up to 6 cigars a day! He even revealed that smoking a cigar on his way to a home game became a ritual for him because it is “the most relaxing thing”.
Jordan has also revealed in an interview that his favorite cigar is the Partagás Lusitania. The Partagás Lusitania is an iconic and classic Cuban cigar, so there’s no surprise in the fact that an icon like Jordan has it as his favorite. Furthermore, Jordan admitted that he appreciates the variety of cigars in the market in recent times and likes to experiment with that variety often. Surprisingly, however, beyond the few details he has offered to the press, Jordan prefers to keep his love for cigars on the low. Call him a classy king, I guess.
2. LeBron James
LeBron Raymone James is another member of the NBA royalty who is also widely considered as one of the greatest all-around players of all time. Amongst his achievements are 4 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and 3 NBA championship wins (all of which he won playing for 3 different franchises—the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Lakers).
To add to his numerous NBA achievements, James was also a member of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball teams that came home with the bronze medal in the 2004 Games, the gold medal in the 2008 Games, and the gold medal again in the 2012 Games.
James has been very open about his love for lighting up a good cigar, notably even more open than the OG, Michael Jordan, which is understandable seeing as they both come from different generations. He has made several social media posts showing himself enjoying a Cuban cigar and even puffing away in the company of his friends (and even some on-court rivals).
No one can forget the scene of James walking into the press conference after his team at the time, the Cleveland Cavaliers, won their first championship with a massive Yaxel Ortiz Torpedo in his mouth and a bottle of Rosé in hand. That was one event in history that further officially branded cigars as a staple for victory celebrations.
The NBA superstar has also been spotted relishing some large ring-gauged Cubans like H Upmann Magnum 50 and Cohiba Behike, as well as some household names like Rocky Patel Javas and Drew Estates Acids. James’ taste is wide-ranging, as expected of this basketball overachiever.
3. Shaquille O’Neal
Another basketball star that has made it to our list, Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal has been named by the NBA as one of the league’s 50 greatest players of all time. A 4-time NBA champion, he is popular for being one of the best and most dominant centers in the NBA all through his 19-year career in which he played for 6 different teams.
Like Jordan, he likes to keep his appreciation of premium cigars low-key. He does keep a fine assortment of Cuban cigars in the smoke room of his home, so if you’re his guest, he’ll certainly offer you one. Shaq is known as well to have taken a few out of his humidor while celebrating his 3 NBA titles. A brand that this sports star has been publicly seen to be affiliated with is the Padrón family Cuban cigars.
4. Steve McNair
Stephen LaTreal McNair was an American football quarterback who played in the NFL for 13 seasons, primarily with the Tennessee Titans franchise (previously known as the Houston Oilers, and then the Tennessee Oilers). He also played for the Baltimore Ravens. During his career, McNair was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and was awarded NFL co-MVP and All-Pro in the 2003 season.
He was one of the toughest players in the history of the NFL with 31,304 passing yards, 3,590 rushing yards, and 37 rushing touchdowns in total. He is the youngest player in NFL history to pass for 20,000+ yards and rush for 3,000+ yards.
After sweating for success on the football field, McNair was known to unwind with a cigar. When he won his co-MVP title, a celebration dinner was held in his honor at the Vanderbilt Stadium Club in Nashville, featuring a lavish feast, auctions—the proceeds of which went to the Steve McNair Foundation, and a cigar bar of CAO cigars.
The football icon might be late, but Air McNair’s legendary feats on the field as well as his fondness for a good smoke will never be forgotten.
5. Terry Bradshaw
Terry Paxton Bradshaw is a 4-time Super Bowl champion and a 2-time Super Bowl MVP, having had a flourishing quarterback career which he followed by a long and still-ongoing career as an analyst, announcer, and actor.
The Blonde Bomber was first introduced to smoking by the founding owner of his team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, and subsequently decided that he preferred his cigars mild, favoring brands like The Griffin’s Cigars.
6. Alex Rodriguez
His agent, Scott Boras, has revealed that A-Rod enjoys the occasional cigar. Of course, this is no surprise as Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez is baseball royalty and we have established thus far that cigars are truly a pastime of sports royals. A-Rod is popular for his power, speed, and defense on the field, as well as being a 14-time All-Star, 3-time American League Most Valuable Player, 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 2-time Gold Glove awardee, 4-time Hank Aaron Award winner, and the MLB Batting champion in 1996.
With a dazzling career in his years as both a rookie and professional baseball player, Rodriguez is indeed one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He has some of the highest recorded salary numbers in baseball history. He is also reputed to have an affinity for good cigars. Interestingly,
Michael Jordan is the influence behind his love for a good smoke as Rodriguez admitted he became a cigar lover after playing a round of golf with the basketball legend and smoking a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Carona. The cigar instantly became his favorite.
7. Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher is a renowned Formula One racer who has competed for Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, and Mercedes. He has won 7 World Drivers’ Champions titles, tying with Lewis Hamilton for the record of the most winnings of this title.
Outside being an F1 hero, Schumacher is someone who loves to live life to the fullest and is quite partial to a few amazing cigars such as the Cuban Davidoff and Partagas 8-9-8, both rich, sweet, and spicy smokes.
8. James Toney
This former professional boxer with multiple world championship titles in 3 IBF weight classes (lineal middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight) is a shrewd counterpuncher with a mean jab and an even meaner love for cigars.
He was dubbed once by a writer, “The Michelangelo of boxing,” and was named Fighter of the Year in 1991 and 2003 by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Toney’s favorite cigar to light up is a Montecristo No. 2, a medium to full-bodied smoke with leathery and sweet notes in its flavor profile.
9. Gerry Cooney
With what has often been described in the media as “sledgehammers for hands”, Gerald Arthur Cooney is an Irish giant with a wicked left hook! The former professional boxer is known to enjoy cigars too, going mostly for brands such as Punch, Davidoff, and Romeo y Julieta.
Cooney might be retired but he still boxes to keep fit and because he still has a lot of love for the sport. As for retiring from cigars, Cooney loves those too much to be quitting any time soon.
10. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Before Schwarzenegger got into Hollywood or politics, the Terminator actor was a championship bodybuilder with acclaim as the greatest in sport’s history. He was known for his incredible physique throughout his impressive bodybuilding career, and this was one of the reasons why it was so easy for him to transition into acting action hero roles in movies.
His father-in-law introduced him to cigars back during his bodybuilding days and he’s been a fan ever since. During his tenure as the 38th governor of California, he installed an outdoor cigar-friendly tent to circumvent the California Capitol’s smoking ban. As an actor, his current favorite cigar brands are Punch and Cohiba.