A professional basketball game nowadays takes a little more than two hours, and sometimes a good bit more than that. Professional basketball games are also played by (mostly) high-level athletes who keep well hydrated. In combination, these two facts make it astonishing that we don’t see basketball players leaving the bench to use the restroom more than we do.
Derrick Rose is right.
“Guys are out there for two hours straight,” Rose said. “Two hours, and nobody takes a bathroom break. For real, just think about it. It blows my mind, bro. Whenever I come out the game, I go right to the restroom, hydrate, and I’m right back at it.”
Here’s a video of these prescient remarks:
You do hear from time to time about NFL players relieving themselves, in their pants, right there on the field. Manny Ramirez once had to go so bad he ducked into the Green Monster and missed a pitch. And in Big 12 country, there also is a rather notorious incident in which Kansas State’s Bill Walker urinated into a towel right there on the sideline.
But these incidents are few and far between. Back in June, ESPN did a whole story on this topic which begins with the following anecdote from former Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross:
And so, in one of the final home games of his career, during a TV timeout with the defense on the field, the three-time Pro Bowl blocker figured he had nothing to lose — he would proudly march off the field toward a small bathroom used mostly by field staff, where for once he could pee in peace.
Or so he thought. Inside the bathroom, Gross was almost immediately slip-sliding around the polished concrete floor in his cleats and struggling mightily with his gloves and pants. When his sweaty, dirty shoulder pads bumped the temple of a fan in a Cam Newton jersey next to him, Gross realized proper urinal etiquette required him to attempt small talk.
“Heck of a game,” Gross blurted with a nod to the dumbfounded fan.
“The guy is staring at me, and I’m fully aware of how weird this situation is, and now it’s all delaying the pee process,” says Gross, who, sources say, was in too much of a hurry to wash his hands. “Poor guy probably paid a fortune for a field pass because he wanted to know what it was like behind the scenes at a big-time sporting event. Well, now he knows.”
The simplest explanation for the rarity of this is probably that athletes are sweating out most of their water. A 300-pound football player will sweat out a gallon of body weight during a game, the ESPN piece noted. But then again football games are about 50 percent longer than basketball games, they’re played mostly outside, on grass, and according to a lot of different football players, there’s a lot of urination going on during football games that people don’t even know about.
Basketball presents no such opportunity. The bench is literally right in front of and next to the fans, the ground is a glossy court that has to be kept dry, and so you’re really limited to two options. You can be Derrick Rose, or you can be Bill Walker, and it’s amazing you don’t see it more often.