Tom Brady isn’t the only big-name Boston athlete who adheres to a strict plant-based vegan diet. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving recently made the switch, and is thrilled with the results.
In a feature story for Bleacher Report Magazine, writer Tom Haberstroh explores the trend in veganism throughout the NBA. Numerous players, including Blazers guard Damien Lillard, Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler and Pacers forward Al Jefferson have ditched meat in favor of greens.
This follows a nationwide trend. According to the research firm GlobalData, 6 percent of U.S. consumers now identify as vegan. In 2014, the number of self-described vegans in the U.S. stood at just one percent.
Irving, 25, told the “NBA Countdown” crew in September he’s never felt better. “Been on more of a plant-based diet, getting away from the animals and all that,” he said. “I had to get away from that. So my energy is up; my body feels amazing.”
Irving also credits the diet for his sensational start to the season. He’s currently averaging 20.6 points and 5.2 assists per game for the 13-2 Celtics.
“I think we can credit that in the win column,” he told Bleacher Report after dropping 35 points against the Hawks last week. “We lost the first two games, won the last nine games. I haven’t changed any diet. I don’t plan on changing anything in my diet. It’s working out great so far.”
On the whole, the average weight of the league has fallen three pounds per player over the last four years, according to the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective. With games being played at a faster pace, players apparently feel the need to remain as nimble as possible.
Perhaps it should no longer be taken as a surprise when athletes say they’ve gone vegan. Soon, it might be the norm.
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