It appears that clean eating has also infiltrated the Celtics locker room.
According to Bleacher Report’s Tom Haberstroh, Boston’s point guard Kyrie Irving has recently adopted a vegan lifestyle. After a preseason game in October, Irving told the NBA Countdown broadcast crew that he has “been on more of a plant-based diet, getting away from the animals and all that.”
“I had to get away from that,” he told the basketball analysts. “So my energy is up. My body feels amazing.”
Fifteen games into the regular season, the four-time NBA All-Star has continued to benefit from the origins of that boost. When Haberstroh followed up with Irving after the Celtics’ 110-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks, the 25-year-old reported that he had been sticking with veganism and has no intentions of abandoning it any time soon.
“I don’t plan on changing anything in my diet,” he told Haberstroh. “It’s working out great so far.”
Head coach Brad Stevens is also well aware the impact Irving’s diet is having on the court.
“He’s had great energy all year,” Stevens said. “The nutrition side is huge.”
In terms of its advantages, Irving says he has detected a noticeable improvement in his ability to perform in back-to-back contests — something that he struggled with playing for the Cavaliers. His shooting percentage last season was down 10 percent when coming off of no days rest as opposed to more than one night of rest. Irving is confident more benefits will come with time, and until then, he plans to keep up his current habits.
Like his flat Earth theories, Irving says he got into veganism through his own research. While a number of other NBA players cite Netflix’s pro-vegan documentary, What the Health, as their inspiration, Irving claims his change in diet was self-motivated.
“I started becoming more in touch with myself,” he said. “I did my own research.”
But he’s not the only Celtic who stays away from meat.
Jaylen Brown — who has avoided red meat and pork his entire life — says he became a full-on vegetarian while playing basketball at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon moving out of the west coast, Brown notes that it’s become a bit harder to sustain his stringent practices. Nevertheless, he still has plans to go vegan before turning 25.
“That’s my goal,” Brown told Haberstroh. “I just want to do it. I just think it’s a healthier lifestyle. Maybe it can give me a competitive edge on the basketball floor. I think that’s the next step.”
Al Horford, however, appears to have plans to convert his diet, as the 6-foot-10, 245-pound center shouted, “An-i-mal protein! An-i-mal protein!” at Brown.
“No, gracias,” his teammate politely declined.
Irving echoed this sentiment: “Steak? Nah, I don’t eat that. It doesn’t come from anything natural, so why would I eat it?”
As for where he does like to dine, Irving says Sweetgreen is one of his favorite vegan spots in the city.