Why Joe Mazzulla has 'completely eliminated' his gum-chewing habit

Joe Mazzulla

We have a major development to share about Joe Mazzulla.

We're not talking about Mazzulla becoming the Boston Celtics' full-time head coach and losing the interim tag. We're not talking about his contract extension. We're talking about his gum-chewing.

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"I haven’t chewed gum in the last 20 games and no one has said a word. No one has noticed it," Mazzulla told host Justin Termine on the SiriusXM NBA Radio show Friday.

Mazzulla has been a voracious gum-chewer during Celtics games this season, to the point where his players poked fun at his obsessive habit.

But the 34-year-old head coach says he's kicked the habit, and he had a pretty legitimate reason for doing so.

"I’m changing up my breathing patterns, trying to just work on my focus and awareness during the game," Mazzulla explained. "I felt like the gum chewing was messing up my heartrate variability and I wasn’t getting the breaths that I needed to be as focused as I was. So it was more of a crutch than it was a positive. So I completely eliminated it."

There you have it: Mazzulla thought his gum chewing was impacting his focus on the sideline, so he went cold-turkey.

If Mazzulla indeed cut out gum 20 games ago, the switch is paying dividends: The Celtics have gone 15-5 during that stretch to maintain their status as the best team in basketball entering the NBA All-Star break.


Mazzulla will be at Vivint Arena in Utah on Sunday as the head coach for Team Giannis in the NBA All-Star Game, becoming just the third first-year head coach in the last 24 years to coach an All-Star Game.

And we know one activity he won't be doing on the sideline.