Luka Doncic paced impatiently in the hallway in front of the locker room door. The team bus was going to leave for the airport soon, but his food delivery from GrubHub hadn’t arrived yet. After checking the time on his phone for the tenth time in the past five minutes, he glanced up and saw a young man carrying a bag of food towards him.
“Finally,” Luka said, a feeling of relief washing over him as he took the bag. He had already included a tip when he had paid for the meal in the app, but handed the deliveryman another ten dollars, so grateful he was for the food. Even though the heavy brown paper bag, he could smell the delicious aromas of burritos, nacho fries, and tacos. It took all his willpower not to rip open the bag right there and indulge in his well-deserved treat.
His teammates were leaving for the bus, so Luka followed along, having put the bag of food into his duffel bag so that nobody would get jealous. As soon as he was settled into his seat on the bus, he found he could wait no longer, jealous teammates or no, so he pulled out an item at random and began to eat it.
“What’s that?” Jalen Brunson asked, poking his head over the seat behind Luka’s.
“Taco Bell,” Luka replied after a pause to swallow his bite of a “cheesy gordita crunch”.
Jalen’s eyes grew wide. “Damn, how’d you get Taco Bell? One of your groupies get it for you?”
“I found this app called GrubHub, you can food delivered to you from basically everywhere,” Luka answered, discarding any concept of manners as another bite of the gordita could not be postponed. “I love America so much, man. You have no idea.” He reached into the bag and retrieve one of his four orders of nacho fries, and briefly thought about offering one to his fellow rookie before deciding that he was going to need all of them for himself.
“I take it they don’t have Taco Bell in the homeland?”
Luka shook his head. “No Mexicans in Slovenia, so no Mexican food either.”
Dirk Nowitzki walked onto the bus, the last Maverick to show up. Stooped low to avoid hitting his head, he went down the aisle looking for a seat, finally settling on the one across the aisle from Luka. For some reason, Luka felt the need to hide his food from the two-decade NBA veteran, but he was too slow as he shoved the half-finished gordita back into the bag. “You got something to eat, Luka?”
“Just a snack, not a big deal,” Luka answered evasively. “And before you ask, no, I’m not going to share with you. Just stay over there and eat your schnitzel and I’ll eat my food and we’ll be good.”
After sniffing the air inquisitively, Dirk’s eyebrows furrowed when he identified the smell. “You got Taco Bell?”
“Kinda,” Luka admitted. Now that he had been found out, he retrieved his partially-eaten cheesy gordita crunch (which, as the name promised, was both sufficiently cheesy and pleasantly crunchy) and resumed eating it.
Dirk looked stern. “You shouldn’t eat that stuff when the team staff works so hard on your meal plans.”
“I deserve a treat every once in a while,” Luka retorted, finishing off the gordita and getting out his Doritos Locos Tacos combo box. “It’s not an every-day thing. Most days I eat what they tell me to. Serious.” He grabbed one of the cups of cheesy dipping sauce that he had been given for his fries, and, after a moment of consideration, dumped its contents on top of the tacos. But feeling Dirk’s scolding gaze upon him dampened his enjoyment of the meal, and the frantic eating pace which had characterized his previous Taco Bell visits was supplanted by staid, reasonably-sized bites.
“Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit,” Dirk said. “I remember when I was a rookie with his first taste of independence. It’s easy to forget that there are a lot of people around you who know more about life than you do.”
Luka uneasily took another bite and nodded. “Got it.” But the Taco Bell food was so tasty, he was afraid it had already become a habit.