Los Angeles Laker JaVale McGee is giving vegan Beyond Meat credit for reviving his once quickly-declining NBA career.
The Los Angeles Lakers center and two-time NBA champion told the Los Angeles Times that he had gained weight and knew he had to trim down as a member of the Dallas Mavericks in 2015.
“I was in Dallas and I had gained weight and knew becoming a vegetarian was the quickest way to lose it,” he said. “I just wasn’t sure if I could do it.”
McGee, who was struggling to get any playing time with the Mavs, took a trip to Whole Foods Market, where he discovered plant-based meat brand Beyond Meat.
“I was just looking for vegan stuff, saw the name and was like ‘let me try this,’ and it was really good,” said McGee.
“Like I couldn’t tell the difference between that and meat. I thought, ‘If I can make it taste good and I’m not really a cook, imagine what a chef could do,” he added.
McGee has since gone from being just a bench warmer and the two-time recipient of Shaquille O’Neal’s Shaqtin’ MVP award – which highlights foolishness on the court – to a bit player on the Golden State Warriors and now a significant piece of the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers.
McGee is in his 13th season in the NBA but is seeing a late-career surge, which he says his plant-based diet and the Beyond Burgers played a role in.
However, JaVale McGee is not the only NBA player that enjoys Beyond Meat.
Some other NBA athletes who eat the plant-based burger include Houston Rockets star guard Chris Paul, Philadelphia 3-point specialist JJ Redick, Knicks center DeAndre Jordan, and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
Beyond Meat is expected to announce a partnership with some of these athletes in the coming days in an attempt to broaden their reach.
Boston Celtics star point guard Kyrie Irving, who eats a vegan diet and has had good things to say about the burger, will reportedly be featured in a commercial promoting the plant-based meat products.
Beyond Meat has become incredibly popular in the 10 years since it was founded in 2009 as more people turn away from animal protein and seek plant-based alternatives.
The company works with a team of scientists who study meat at the molecular level and then find plants to replicate the taste and texture.
Beyond Meat is now worth an estimated half-billion dollars following its IPO filing, according to CNBC.