What Famous Athletes Always Order At Fast Food Restaurants

When we picture famous athletes in our heads, it's not uncommon to imagine larger-than-life figures that resemble Greek gods with the power of weightlifters, the skill of surgeons, and the lifestyle of the rich and famous. But the truth is they're a lot more normal than we often think. Whether it's Lebron James driving a 2019 Kia that costs less than $60,000 or star NFL wide receiver Jordy Nelson who still worked on his family's farm after inking a $39 million contract extension. 

But it might comfort you to know that many famous athletes love fast food just as much as normal people do. Whether it's burger joints like McDonald's or In-N-Out, pizza chains like Pizza Hut or Domino's, or any of the other fine eateries that virtually define the American way of living and eating, it's pretty cool to know the big stars eat at those places, too. But what do they order when they pull into the drive-thru? We've researched their past and current diets to see, so you can order like a pro athlete as well.

Charles Barkley (McDonald's)

Even more than two decades after retiring, Charles Barkley is still one of the most famous ex-pro athletes in the world, nowadays more so for his role as a television analyst on the TNT show Inside the NBA. But during his prime, not only was he an incredibly dominant force on the court, but he had a highly memorable personality. 

One defining "personality" moment came from an interview with Jayson Williams. According to him, during their time on the Philadelphia 76ers, Sir Charles would arrive late to practice with a big bag of McDonald's in his hands. In the story, he didn't drop the bag and start practicing — he walked straight over to a bike and started assembling his makeshift meal from McDonald's. 

Williams went on to say, on Vice's COOKIES podcast, "So, he takes the eggs, and he takes the pancakes, the sausage, maple syrup and butter, puts it all in one, wraps it up with the pancake and gets some extra syrup. And the butter's oozing out. And I'm going, 'Wow, you going to eat that then and come run with us?' Hell no. He's going to eat that while he's on the stationary bike" (via For the Win). Apparently, Chuck proceeded to heckle the players actually playing on the court while scarfing down the breakfast monstrosity. A good leader shows his teammates how to eat, too, right?

Drew Brees (Jimmy John's)

Today, Jimmy John's has more than 2,700 locations across 43 states in the United States, but it wasn't always like that. And that was a problem for Drew Brees. Drew went to Purdue University, where his local Jimmy John's prepared his favorite sandwich. He was such a fan, he had a sandwich delivered, "like, three times a week" (via AOL). When Brees finally made it to the NFL after being drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2001, he was a lot further from his favorite sandwich. He then moved to the New Orleans Saints in 2006, but still, no Jimmy John's nearby.

He claimed he went back to his alma mater twice a year so he could eat Jimmy John's as much as possible. On one such day in 2010, Brees made a life-changing decision. "I was sitting there, taking a bite into a No. 9 Italian Night Club, and I was like, 'Alright, that's it. I have to bring Jimmy John's to New Orleans,'" he said. He then got on the phone with a friend at the corporate headquarters for the restaurant, and the rest is history.

Brees opened the franchise's first location in New Orleans, but today there are more than 15 in the state of Louisiana. That's a man who's passionate about a sandwich. A No.9 Italian Night Club, to be exact. 

Justin Verlander (Taco Bell)

If you have a massive superstition that involves tacos and sports, you might have gotten along well with ace pitcher Justin Verlander. He debuted for the Detroit Tigers on July 4, 2005, but he had an unusual superstition he held onto all the way until 2014. What was his superstitious ritual, you ask? Before he started any game, he consumed a very specific full meal of Taco Bell. 

His meal included three Crunchy Taco Supremes with no tomatoes, a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and a Mexican Pizza (also sans the tomatoes). Back when the Cy Young Award-winner joined Conan O'Brien on his late-night show, he claimed it was part of the secret to his success on the field. O'Brien joked back, "It also results in your game day diarrhea tradition" (via Eater). 

Mr. Verlander was serious about his Taco Bell love, and it didn't go unnoticed. Taco Bell tweeted at him, "Happy Birthday, @JustinVerlander. We love you," to which he replied, "Love you too." Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Verlander has recently hinted he has given up his long-held pre-game ritual in order to change up his superstitions. When asked about it, he was vague, but hinted to For the Win, "I don't want to hurt their feelings." Sorry, Taco Bell.

Ryan Lochte (McDonald's)

When the name Ryan Lochte comes to mind, you either think one of two things — the guy who won four medals in the 2008 Olympics, or the guy who ate McDonald's for almost every single meal and still won four medals in the 2008 Olympics. And for the record, one of those was a gold medal for the 200-meter backstroke. In order to consume around 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day during the Beijing Olympics, he had a pretty specific meal plan when it came to the golden arches. 

For breakfast he consumed eggs, sausage, biscuits, several McMuffins, three hashbrowns, and a fruit salad. For lunch, he got two containers of Chicken McNuggets, a double cheeseburger, and a Big Mac. For dinner, he replayed his lunch order, but he added on another double cheeseburger or two as well as some french fries. His massive order from McDonald's didn't seem to slow him down. He ended up winning a bronze in the 400-meter individual medley, a gold medal in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay with the American team, his first individual gold medal for the 200-meter backstroke, and finally a bronze in the 200-meter individual medley. Moral of the story: Eat like a champion, win like a champion. However, Lochte has changed up his diet since Beijing to a healthier one since then.

Cooper Kupp (Pizza Hut and Subway)

In 2021, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was simply the best receiver in the league. He had a record-setting season by leading the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns — an incredibly rare feat known as the "triple crown." With the crown, he joined other historic receivers in history, such as Steve Smith, Sterling Sharpe, and Jerry Rice. For his tremendous athletic ability, it's no surprise Cooper Kupp has a monstrous appetite as well. In an interview, he said he ate 12 tacos before a high school workout one time. When he slept over at friends' houses, their moms went to absurd lengths to prepare enough food for him. Sometimes after as many as four meals, he was still hungry but, mercifully, too polite to say so.

When it came to fast food, Kupp's go-to order was a $10 Pizza Hut box, which came with the perfect combination of pizza, breadsticks, and cinnamon sticks, following a Subway footlong that served as a main course. Although Kupp admitted to his younger eating habits, he said he's now very selective about what he puts into his body. He sticks to clean eating only, referring mostly to food that is farm- and ocean-to table. That's okay — we can just keep telling ourselves that pizza and breadsticks create champions.

Usain Bolt (McDonald's)

Apparently, everyone at the 2008 Olympics hosted in Beijing was running completely off of McDonald's fuel. It was no different for the Jamaican sprinter and the man who holds the crown for the fastest man in the world: Usain Bolt. Bolt is known for absolutely dominating the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints as well as the 4x200-meter relay and has won the Olympic gold medal eight times, but he gained worldwide fame for his double sprint victory in world record times during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This made him the first person to hold both records at the same time. 

But what probably caught the attention of most people is the food he credited with his success: Chicken McNuggets. Apparently, while he was crushing the competition, he was scarfing down 100 chicken nuggets every day, as well as some french fries and apple pies for good measure. He eventually won a triple gold that year for the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 100-meter relay. Sure, Bolt has tried to clean up his diet nowadays, but we as fans will always be able to cherish the fact that McDonald's fueled the fastest man in the world during his world record-breaking races. 

Georges St-Pierre (McDonald's)

Georges St-Pierre, also known as GSP, is widely known as one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history. He was a two-division champion in the UFC, including in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. He won and lost the welterweight belt twice, then defended it nine consecutive times over the course of almost five years. He then went on to win to become the UFC middleweight champion against Michael Bisping in 2017. 

So, what fuels one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time? The Canadian fighter told the Toronto Sun that, like many other athletes, his fast food guilty pleasure came from the golden arches. "I like McDonald's. Three cheeseburgers, french fries, poutine with Chicken McNuggets and a big Coca-Cola." Thankfully, we can copy the fighter's fast food order (except for poutine, unless you're in Canada), but we probably won't be able to fight like the two-division champ any time soon. 

Shaquille O'Neal (McDonald's)

Whether you watch basketball or you don't, there's no doubt you know who Shaq is. From his time in the NBA as the most dominant center in the league and winning four championships to his post-retirement career as a sports analyst and entrepreneur, Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most recognizable people in the world. Because of that, it's all the more comforting that Shaq enjoys his McDonald's just like the rest of us. On one episode of his podcast, The Big Podcast, Shaq said he frequented McDonald's often. "When I go to McDonald's, [my order is] a number one, double cheeseburger and 10 nuggets and a Diet Coke because I'm on the diet." 

During his time as a basketball star, he absolutely dominated other players on the court with his 320-pound physique. However, he has recently given his health more thought. In an interview with GQ, he revealed he had started his diet after receiving a big wake-up call from his doctor. "When they hit you with that three-letter word that starts with 'D' and ends with 'E,' it changes stuff up."

With that said, he does still visit McD's from time to time. And when he does, he's really generous. "When I go to McDonald's and order food for me and my ... friends, and the kids bring it, I'll give them a $200 tip," he said in an interview found on YouTube. If you work at McDonald's, hopefully, he shows up.

Tim Lincecum (In-N-Out)

Tim Lincecum, also known lovingly by his nicknames "The Freak," "The Franchise," and "The Freaky Franchise," is a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher who played most of his career for the San Francisco Giants, as well as a brief stint on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Most notably, Lincecum helped the Giants win three World Series between 2010 and 2014.

Maybe even more notable than his championships? His incredible diet that was almost entirely fueled by In-N-Out Burger, the popular West Coast fast food chain. What was his usual order? He ate three Double-Doubles, two orders of fries, and a chocolate-strawberry shake. He also got extra ketchup but ordered his burgers without lettuce or tomatoes. "I'm not a big vegetable guy," Lincecum told USA Today. His order totaled a whopping 3,150 calories. He went on to say, "I've gone away from eating more cheeseburgers and just adding patties." It's been reported that Lincecum changed up his diet before the end of his career, but he definitely won at least one championship on the In-N-Out diet, so we'll try to make a connection there even if there isn't one. 

Ja'Marr Chase (Raising Cane's Fried Chicken)

If you watch the NFL, you likely know Ja'Marr Chase, one of the most electric young wide receivers in the game. Drafted in 2021 to the Cincinnati Bengals, he has already won several accolades such as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and second-team All-Pro. He's also played in two Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl. 

If there's one food Chase absolutely loves, it's Raising Cane's chicken. In fact, he loves the chicken-strip restaurant chain so much, he even spent some time working the drive-thru in Cincinnati. Apparently, he was a natural taking orders from customers as a cashier, just like he's a natural at catching balls on the field. Fans got an awesome surprise at the window when one of the most famous football players in the world handed them their food. Todd Graves, Founder & Co-CEO of Raising Cane's, told CBS Sports, "I've been a Chase fan ever since his record-breaking days at LSU. He's one of the best receivers on the planet, and we're proud to call him a Caniac." So what does Ja'marr Chase get from the fried chicken joint? Its famous chicken tenders that come with Texas toast, coleslaw, crinkle-cut fries, and delicious Cane's Sauce.  

Joe Flacco (McDonald's)

Joe Flacco is a quarterback in the NFL that's probably best remembered for his performance in Super Bowl XLVII which helped win his Ravens the championship while securing the MVP award for himself. That season was one of the best seasons for a quarterback in history, and with that, he secured a six-year contract that would make him the highest-paid player by average annual value ever in the NFL. If that were you, where would you go to celebrate? The French Laundry? Eleven Madison Park? Per Se? That's ... not what Flacco had in mind. 

After signing the contract that awarded him $52 million guaranteed, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback rolled up to the McDonald's drive-thru and ordered a 10-piece McNugget meal with fries and an unsweetened iced tea. Total cost? $6.99. You're right to say it was unexpected. Even Sherry Norman, the diehard Ravens fan that served him, didn't fully recognize him. "I kept saying to the people I work with, 'Doesn't that look like Joe Flacco?,'" she said at the time, according to ESPN. Yes, it was him. That wasn't Flacco's last stint with McDonald's, either. A year later, he was in a commercial for the golden arches to promote McDonald's Mighty Wings.

Chad Ochocinco (McDonald's)

Chad Johnson, more famously known as Chad Ochocinco, was a wide receiver in the NFL most remembered for his time on the Cincinnati Bengals. Throughout his career, he raked up several accolades; he's a three-time First-team All-Pro, a six-time Pro Bowler, and was the NFL receiving yards leader in 2006. But if you remember Chad Ochocinco, you likely remember his out-of-this-world personality and crazy stunts, like putting on a poncho and a sombrero after a touchdown, which led to a total of $50,000 in fines from the league throughout his career. 

Another memorable part of Ochocinco's career was his insane in-season diet. On a podcast, Ochocinco revealed his diet, which most notably featured McDonald's, among other things. For breakfast, he crushed McDonald's hotcakes with sausage, a Sausage McMuffin, and a large orange juice. As a snack, he ate strawberry-frosted Pop-Tarts and six boiled eggs. For lunch, he consumed Bahama Breeze curry chicken pasta with extra chicken and no asparagus. Finally, for dinner, Chad ate three legs of fried chicken, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, sweet water cornbread, and a slice of chocolate cake. Not surprisingly, fellow NFL players on the podcast broke down in laughter as Ochocinco tried to convince them to join in on the diet. 

Ochocinco's far from joking, though. When he walked the red carpet at the Sports Illustrated Awards, Johnson stated the following to a reporter: "I played 12 years and never got hurt, you know why? McDonald's" (via New York Post).

Floyd Mayweather (McDonald's)

Floyd "Money" Mayweather. There's a reason his nickname is "Money." The American boxing legend who won 15 major world championships, was named "Fighter of the Decade" and is one of the richest athletes in the world. You've likely seen him on TV dropping huge stacks of bills for different lavish items like Hermès Birkin bags, personalized diamond-encrusted silverware, watches, 100-foot yachts, courtside NBA tickets, and lots of gambling, but there's one very relatable thing Floyd also drops bills on — McDonald's. After one of Mayweather's big wins against Canelo Alvarez in 2013, Mayweather drove straight to McDonald's to celebrate. He ordered a total of six Sausage and Egg McMuffins, eight hashbrowns, and three large orange juices. 

Of course, this post-fight celebration isn't Floyd's normal meal routine when he gears up for a big fight. To get ring-ready, he has a whole different diet. For breakfast, he'll eat a meal that includes eggs, grits, and home fries, as well as some turkey kielbasa or turkey sausage. Apparently, Floyd is crazy about spaghetti and ate spaghetti Bolognese nearly every day building up to his fight against McGregor in 2017. Some other notable cheat foods Floyd lives for are Twizzlers and fried hot dogs with barbecue sauce, according to his personal chef. Main takeaway? Even the richest people in the world love to retreat back to their favorite McDonald's meal to celebrate.