Can you be a pro basketball player on a diet of tofu and greens? An increasing number of hoopsters are proving that plant-based diets can score when it comes to their skills and energy. Among the vegetarians and vegans in the NBA, Amar’e Stoudemire, James Jones, Glen Davis and, on occasion, Carmelo Anthony have shown that you can toss a basketball fueled by tofu, reported NBC Sports recently. And although vegan athletes have been around for awhile, as documented in "Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life," it's a relatively new concept when it comes to the NBA.
Willing to dish on his conversion from steak to soy beans: John Salley, who is vegan. He says that he shifted for health reasons, motivated "when Wilt Chamberlain died. Any kind of blockage is heart disease; when you have a blood clot anywhere, that’s heart disease. When Wilt Chamberlain died, strongest man I ever met in my life, I started paying attention."
Now a sports talk personality, John turned vegetarian before going vegan. Reflecting on the initial shift, he commented, "I remember when I became a vegetarian and my game changed. I couldn’t imagine if I was a vegan back when I was playing. The thing about the NBA, any pro sport, is, guys don’t know how to take care of their body. It’s funny. They got trainers around to help them lift weights, throw all this weight up, parachutes. All this other crazy stuff. But they don’t have guys who say, “Hey. This is how you take care of your body.”
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