Need a Restaurant Recommendation? Ask an N.B.A. Player.

Pick a city, any city, on the National Basketball Association’s 30-team circuit, and Kelly Olynyk, a forward for the Utah Jazz, has deep knowledge of the local restaurant scene.

If you are searching for top-tier sushi in Boston, where he spent his first four N.B.A. seasons, he recommends Fuji at Ink Block in the South End. In Charlotte, N.C., he will most likely suggest the smoked wings at Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. Whether you are craving the best Italian in San Francisco or in pursuit of tasty treats in Indianapolis — Mr. Olynyk knows a place. He is a 6-foot-11 human version of Yelp.

“You have spots in each city that you love and know you can count on,” said Mr. Olynyk, 32, after eating at thousands of restaurants over the 10 years he has played professionally on five N.B.A. teams. “But part of having an interest in different cultures and cuisines and restaurants is trying new ones.”

In a league that consists of 28 cities, roughly 450 players and 1,230 regular season games each year, N.B.A. business travel is frequent and first-class. Teams fly private and stay in five-star hotel chains like the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton. But they also eat, a lot, and by embracing local culture and institutions with their deep pockets, they have become very credible restaurant authorities.

N.B.A. players are larger-than-normal humans (average height is 6-foot-6) with equally large salaries (average annual pay is $8.32 million), a combination that results in voracious appetites and often in reservations at the country’s most renowned restaurants. Each player also receives a $133 food per diem for days on the road.

“Sometimes, if we’re only in a city one night, I’ll go to two dinners,” admitted Mr. Olynyk.

The 2023-24 N.B.A. season just tipped off on Oct. 24, and in a typical season, each team plays 41 games on the road, visiting each opposing market (that includes 27 U.S. cities and Toronto) at least once. There are additional preseason and playoff games also to consider. The Golden State Warriors, for example, traveled to Los Angeles — home of the Lakers and Clippers — seven times last season. That means many meals and time to bond.

“We travel so much around the country that going out to restaurants has always been the greatest way to bring everyone together,” said Karl-Anthony Towns, a three-time N.B.A. All-Star center with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Regardless of which teammates or coaches they choose to dine with, players take notice of the food, service and settings: Word-of-mouth recommendations between players are a major part of N.B.A. restaurant culture.

“We’re a brotherhood, so you’re going to definitely have some honest reviews from your 449 brothers,” said Mr. Towns, 27.

“It’s one of the most unbelievably beautiful kitchens I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Love said of Eleven Madison Park.

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