Basketball is a rigorous, physically demanding sport. Its athletes need to be in peak physical shape, and have a healthy energizing diet to power them during game time. Nowhere is this more true than in the NBA, where some of the worlds greatest ballers go head to head for 82 games per team per season. The exercise and diet regimens of NBA players are meticulously developed to keep them playing at peak performance game after game, season after season. Those who are well informed on the advantages of a vegan diet might no be surprised to learn that there is a growing number of vegan basketball players in the NBA who swear by its clean and light nature. Here are just a few of these vegan ballers who swore off meat and feel all the better for it.
Over his NBA career spanning fourteen years, the power forward Amar'e Stoudemire has played for the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Miami Heat. His long NBA career was impressive and he still plays professional basketball for Hapoel Jerusalem of the Israeli Basketball Premier League.
He switched to a vegan diet in 2013 and hasn't looked back.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis
Power forward Ronal Glen "Big Baby" Davis has played for the Boston Celtics, the Orlando Magic, and the Los Angeles Clippers during his 10 year career. Now a free agent, Davis switched to a vegan diet in 2013 in an effort to stem the constant injuries he was sustaining. He believes that a cleaner diet free of animal byproducts is key to a strong, healthy body.
This ten year NBA veteran has played as both power forward and small forward for the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets during his career. After a string of hip related injuries that cost him game time during multiple seasons, Chandler switched to a vegan diet in 2016. In an article with Sports Illustrated, he was quoted as saying “My recovery time is faster, I’m in a better mood, I feel more explosive on the court and I’m leaner.”
Four time NBA Championship winner, John Salley played as a power forward and center for the Detroit Pistons, the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors, The Chicago Bulls, and the Los Angeles Lakers in a career spanning 14 years. Though now retired, he is a huge proponent of the vegan/ vegetarian movement. He advocates a plant based life style for everybody, not just professional athletes. Himself a raw vegan, he has been a frequent speaker at "VegFests" across the United States and visited Washington, D.C to advocate the Child Nutrition Act, asking members of Congress to support legislation for vegetarian options to be introduced into schools.
James Jones played as a small forward and shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, the Phoenix Suns, the Portland Trailblazers, the Miami Heat, and the Cleveland Cavaliers over his 14 year NBA career. In 2007 he made the switch to a vegan diet for health and wellness reasons. He was willing to pay high prices for room service on the road to stick steadfastly to an animal free diet.
Twelve year NBA athlete Ben Gordon has played as a shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Pistons, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Orlando Magic, and the Texas Legends. He recently switched to a vegan diet. Although he didn't stick to the diet full time, he claims to have noticed increased energy, lightness, and speed on the court, and continues to use the diet from time to time as he deems necessary.
This is just a short list of vegan basketball players, and lists only those who have in the past or still do today play in the NBA. Vegan players are present in basketball organizations around the world, and their numbers are growing. The more time that passes, the more people of all walks of life are coming to recognize the distinct benefits and advantages of the vegan diet and lifestyle. With these famous vegan NBA players advocating the vegan cause, who knows how much the trend may grow in the future.