Best Energy Drinks for Basketball (shoot for the stars)

Photo pf people playing basketball

Whether you’re shooting hoops with your buddies or you aspire to be the next MJ, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world.

But all that running and sweating can take its toll on you and leave you feeling fatigued. Optimal nutrition is as important as proper training.

It’s worth considering anything that will give you an edge on the court, which is probably exactly why you’re here.

So, if you’re looking for the best energy drinks for basketball, you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started…

Why should you drink energy drinks when playing basketball?

Some energy drinks

Energy drinks are a staple in the sports community and there are good reasons for that.

One reason is that energy drinks often contain a lot of carbohydrates, which are a source of energy when you’re running up and down the court.

Basketball is a sport that combines cardiovascular and explosive strength exercises because players will run around the court, jump and quickly change directions.

This can tire out the players very fast and therefore, it’s difficult to keep going for long periods of time without subbing out for a rest on the bench.

Also, the caffeine in energy drinks is beneficial for both physical and mental performance.

Energy drinks can be both an energy source to provide fuel for your body to burn and can also improve your physical and mental performance.

Is it bad to drink energy drinks before playing basketball?

Actually, it depends.

Drinking energy drinks before a workout has been linked to heart disease.

Whether or not it’s a good idea to drink energy drinks before hooping depends on your goals.

For example, if your goal is to lose weight then I would not recommend drinking energy drinks that are high in sugar before playing ball as they will add to your carbohydrate intake.

However, if your goal is to improve performance and build muscle then I would say an energy drink is a way to go.

This study found that caffeine consumption had an immensely positive impact on players’ stats. The only downside was some disruption to their sleep.

Yet another study found that caffeinated energy drinks improved jump performance.

If you do decide to have an energy drink before a game, have it about 45 minutes before tipoff.

This is because while you might feel more energetic within a few minutes of drinking energy drinks, it takes about 45 minutes for the energy drink to reach maximum effect.

Personally, I think it’s a good idea to choose an energy drink that is low in caffeine before a game for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I don’t like the idea of sprinting to get back to play D with a boat load of caffeine pulsing through my veins. Call me paranoid, but that doesn’t feel like a smart or safe recipe.

Secondly, I feel like energy drinks that contain more than about 100mg of caffeine are too powerful and usually leave me unable to think straight. They also often make me feel flushed, nauseous and dehydrated – none of which is ideal in the middle of a game.

Do NBA players drink energy drinks?

Some professional sports athletes during a game.
Some ballers during a game. I wonder if they had energy drinks before the tipoff.

From research, I can tell you that NBA players do drink energy drinks. In fact, some are obsessed with them.

There have even been some NBA stars that have launched their own brand of energy drinks such as Mike Miller.

Even LeBron James has been known to drink the occasional energy drink.

This is because the NBA schedule can be grueling on the players and caffeine can really help to function at your best when you might otherwise be a little sluggish.

Not to mention that on a weekly basis they play 3 to 5 games on top of their practice sessions.

Pro basketballers aren’t the only professional sportspeople to drink energy drinks though. Even the world’s best tennis players sometimes drink them too.

What should you drink before a basketball game?

This is going to depend on your current level of fitness, what your goals are and how different ingredients affect you.

I think it’s best to talk to your doctor or health professional before making any significant changes to your diet.

Having said that, pre-game is probably a pretty good time to consider drinking something that contains a small to moderate amount of caffeine, as well as enough water to make sure that you’re properly hydrated.

During a game, I usually recommend water or sports drinks.

Post-game I think it’s probably good to drink more water, sports drinks, maybe some kind of muscle-recovery shake and also consider an energy drink if you feel you need a pick-me-up.

What to look out for in an energy drink

There are 3 things that are important when you are looking for which energy drink would best suit you when playing basketball.

Those are:

  • Caffeine content
  • Sugar levels
  • Price


Caffeine is what is going to keep your mind alert throughout the entire day. And with the physical and emotional exhaustion that basketball players face daily, it’s no wonder they drink a lot of caffeine.

In my opinion, 50mg to 100mg of caffeine per serve is ideal and safe if you’re playing basketball.

Some really strong energy drinks contain 300mg of caffeine per can. That’s way more than I think you should be having before a game. Your goal is to be focused and functioning at your best, not being so wired that you can see sounds.

You should be careful when you consume too much caffeine. This is because caffeine tolerance is different for everyone.

You may be able to consume a lot of caffeine in one day but the same might not be true for someone who doesn’t have such a high tolerance.

It’s important to monitor yourself and know how much caffeine is too much.

As such, always read the label to understand how much caffeine you’re putting into your body.


Sugar content is really something to keep an eye on when you are looking at an energy drink.

A little bit of sugar is essential in our bodies for energy and growth but too much sugar could result in problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, the amount of sugar that is recommended is:

  • For women it would be 100 calories a day or about 6 teaspoons of sugar.
  • For men it’s 150 calories a day or about 9 teaspoons of sugar.

Drinking too much sugar all at once can result in a sugar crash 1 to 2 hours after drinking.

And let’s face it, no one wants a sugar-crash.

As such it’s important to watch when picking energy drinks for their sugar content.


In terms of price, energy drinks can get pretty pricy.

Everyone likes a good deal, especially if you don’t need to sacrifice quality to get something for an affordable price.

There are a lot of brands that cost $4 or even more per can, but you really don’t need to pay so much for good quality energy drinks if you know where to look.

My personal favorite is REIZE, which ships right to your door for around $1 per drink. That’s amazing value, but more on that later…

What happens if you drink too many energy drinks?

While it can be good to drink energy drinks when playing basketball, it’s important to exercise control of how much you drink.

Too little and you are unable to get the feeling of alertness and the energy that an energy drink can provide.

Too much and it could lead to multiple health problems such as:

  • Increased Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Diabetes
  • Addiction to the energy drink
  • Vomiting
  • High Blood Pressure

As such, I suggest being aware of how many energy drinks are necessary for your lifestyle each day and stick to whatever works for you.

If you want to know if it’s safe to drink energy drinks every day, check out my other article where I cover everything you need to know about that.

Best energy drinks for playing basketball


Celsius energy drinks are good for high-intensity workouts. Each can contains 200mg of caffeine per 12fl.oz.

Personally, that’s more caffeine than I usually prefer, but it might work for you, so perhaps give it a try and see if you like it.

Celsius is also sugar-free, which is nice. So it’s a good idea if you’re going for something with more caffeine and less sugar.

Red Bull

Red Bull is a common energy drink for all athletes and there is a good reason.

This is because Red Bull:

  • Has a good combination of sugar and caffeine content
  • Is not too expensive
  • Has a sugar-free version for anyone who just wants the caffeine.

Personally, 27g of sugar is more than I want to put in my body at any one time, but the caffeine content is sensible and the brand is available literally everywhere you go.

Raze Energy Drink

Another good energy drink is Raze, which also contains zero sugar but actually contains 300mg of caffeine.

Once again, an energy drink which is good for if you like more caffeine in your diet or if you can tolerate it.

Being pricier than the two mentioned before at around $2.20 a can of 16 fl.oz without shipping.

It’s great if the average amount of caffeine just doesn’t work for you and you need something stronger. Though I’d be careful about how much you drink though.

REIZE (my favorite)

REIZE is in my opinion. This is because it has a good amount of caffeine and it’s also sugar-free.

Don’t let that fool you though, it has a great taste and is absolutely refreshing.

Not only is REIZE sugar-free, but it also contains a nice blend of taurine, ginseng and B vitamins which I think helps even after the game when cooling down.

And the best part?

REIZE is only around $1 per drink including shipping straight to your doorstep.

Try REIZE today and you might also find that it’s the best energy drink for basketball too.

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Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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