All the ‘Smart’ Athletes Are Going Vegan, Says NBA Star John Salley

All the ‘Smart’ Athletes Are Going Vegan, Says NBA Star John Salley

Four-time NBA champion and wellness entrepreneur John Salley believes that going vegan is the smart thing for athletes to do.

“I think the smart athlete realizes that his body is the commodity,” Salley told Yahoo Finance. “The one who sits around and feels, ‘I can perform at this high level, and then I’m going to go to a steakhouse and sit next to somebody who was in the stands and eat the same food and be able to perform,’ you can’t do that.”

Salley walks the walk and talks the talk. He was one of the earliest investors in plant-based meat brand, Beyond Meat. Along with promoting veganism, Salley is an advocate for legal weed. He co-founded the California-based premium cannabis brand, Deuces22 with his daughter Tyla Milan. The Brooklyn native also regularly uses his platform to promote vegan brands and restaurants and to speak to the health benefits of leaving animal products off your plate.


“You’re never going to see an IndyCar on the street, because an IndyCar is a high octane machine,” he continued. “You’re not going to put leaded gas in that car. You’re not going to let somebody get in and eat fries and a bad burger in that car. So when athletes start realizing that they should treat their body like high-octane race cars, they will then do that. And there will be less injuries, and they’ll be able to last longer.”

‘A Plant-Based Diet Keeps You Alive’

According to his website, Salley adopted a plant-based diet when his doctor warned that is eating habits were damaging his health. The former Detroit Piston chose to forgo cholesterol-lowering medication in favor of changing his lifestyle.


“A vegan diet changed my life,” Salley told Holistic Voice in 2017. “My message I want everybody to know is: Eat a plant-based diet, or don’t. A plant-based diet keeps you alive, the other diet keeps you in the hospital.”

A growing number of athletes have spoken to the health benefits of a vegan diet despite stigmas surrounding protein. In May 2018, Spanish soccer player Héctor Bellerín revealed that changing his lifestyle improved his overall health. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving credited his high energy levels to ditching animal products. Irving was also one of 14 athletes to invest in Beyond Meat, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Derrick Morgan, JaVale McGee, and “Free Solo” climber Alex Honnold.