I made my Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals prediction after eating Draymond Green’s and Jayson Tatum’s Subway sandwiches

The 2022 NBA Finals isn’t just a competition between the league’s two best teams, it’s a battle between two key figures in the culinary world.

I’m referring, of course, to Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green and Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

Back in February 2021, Green and Tatum signed on as representatives for the nation’s leader in sandwich artist employment, aka Subway. Their initial task was to promote the franchise’s new app that allowed people interested in eating sandwiches with bread that isn’t technically bread, as an Irish court once ruled, can place their orders quickly and efficiently.

But more importantly, Green and Tatum threw their considerable power and influence behind specialty sandwiches advertised as each player’s absolute favorites when they definitely eat at Subway. Green’s is the DrayPotle Steak: a steak and cheese sandwich on Italian bread with green peppers, red onions, salt, black pepper, and Chipotle Southwest sauce. Tatum’s is the Bacon Tatum: a turkey and bacon sub on Italian Bread with spicy jalapeños lettuce, mayo, red wine vinegar, and salt and black pepper.

The commercial for their promotion was the relative high point of the ad campaign. Green and Tatum hold their respective sandwiches and engage in a bit of classic sports trash-talk. Tatum starts with a dig at Green, saying his sandwich will actually put points on the board. Green, doing his best to act annoyed, replies with, “My sandwich has more rings than yours.” A blindsided Tatum can only retort with, “My sandwich has bacon.”

While every “NBA expert” has weighed in on who will win the Finals, no one has done so based on the quality of Green’s and Tatum’s sandwiches, an unforgivable oversight. Their promotion ended in April 2021, but both sandwich options are still available and ripe for proper judgment.

So, as the SFGATE Sports Desk’s official Subway expert – a title bestowed upon me for once stating that Subway “wasn’t that bad” as everyone else recoiled in disgust – I decided to do what needed to be done for journalism.

In order to give both sandwiches an equal opportunity to succeed with my taste buds, I searched for the highest-rated Subway store on Google Reviews within a reasonable distance. That landed me in Jackson Square, where the Subway on Broadway boasts a whopping 3.9 stars.

The ads presented each sandwich as a foot long, so I made sure to order them in said fashion. This creates an equal possibility of condiment and vegetable variance spread throughout each sandwich.


Like any good scientific study, I have to acknowledge some biases. Prior to eating, Green’s sandwich immediately stood out as the most favorable combination of ingredients; steak and cheese was my go-to when I subsisted on a nearby Subway that was a block away from an old apartment. To combat my biases, I thing to eat Tatum’s sandwich first.

Onto the subs!

A general rule I try to follow, though it’s one I ignore more often than I’d like to admit, is to not buy something you can quite easily make at home. The Bacon Tatum is a sandwich you can make at home. When you combine that reality with the rather baffling decision to not put cheese on the sub, it’s hard not to be pessimistic about the sad lump of food in front of you.

The sandwich looked dry when I picked it up, and taking a bite did not help much. The mayonnaise and red wine vinegar were immediately drowned out by the toasted turkey and bacon. Sometimes the flavors of the condiments would break through, but only when all of the ingredients in the sandwich coalesced into a single bite, a regrettably rare occurrence. Through the first quarter of biting into the foot-long sub, the taste of turkey was gross enough to make me feel like I was slowly completing a marathon. I hit my groove, but the final portion was where the bread looked, and ended up tasting, the driest. Thankfully, there was an extra dollop of mayo that saved me from suffering through the sawdust texture of the toasted end.

Tatum made the second All-Star game of his career in 2021, and put up some incredible numbers in Boston’s brief playoff campaign that year. If anything, the fact that this sandwich was advertised as his go-to makes those numbers look even more impressive.

The impending flavor profile of Green’s sandwich kept me going at the end of my time with Tatum’s concoction.

Sure enough, the first bite of Draypotle Steak was a beautiful departure from the dry, cheeseless hellscape that Tatum’s sub had put me through. There was some actual flavor, courtesy of the chipotle sauce really coming through, and the cheese allowed me to eat without immediately grabbing my drink every bite. Green’s sandwich, the front-runner, seemed to be the clear winner for a couple chomps … but then I came tumbling back to Earth. My body remembered it was consuming a Subway sandwich.

While Tatum’s sub felt like a marathon, Green’s sub was a boxing match. It required almost as much endurance, but with the added risk of serious bodily harm. My abdomen felt like someone had dropped a boulder from the top of my esophagus into the pit of my stomach. To make matters worse, I could not escape the smell of raw onions hours after departing Subway.

I didn’t feel amazing after eating the Bacon Tatum – it is a very mediocre Subway sandwich, after all – but it was significantly lighter. In fact, with some minor adjustments, it might be something I’d almost be tempted to order again. Sure, it’s something I could make in my own kitchen, but in fairness, that’s a Turkey Bacon Sandwich by Gabe, not the Bacon Tatum.

The only redeeming qualities of the Draypotle Steak are that it made me consider choosing healthier sandwiches at Subway in the future, but it did give me the rare experience of feeling like Green himself had socked me in the belly.

Just like my expectations for these Subway subs, I went into the NBA Finals expecting a Warriors victory. But after Game 1 on Thursday, I realized that maybe, though less appealing at first glance, the Celtics were the right way to go. My experience at Subway confirmed it: Even if I didn’t really enjoy eating Tatum’s sub – and even though I absolutely don’t want to see Boston sports fans happy – I cannot deny the truth. My official, and belated, Finals prediction is now Celtics in 6.

And if you’ll excuse me, I need to use the Subway bathroom that reeks of ammonia.

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