Chris plays basketball in the NBA in the USA, representing the Phoenix Suns as a point guard.
The 183 cm (6’) from North Carolina has been named NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He’s won NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award and has two Olympic gold medals. Chris led the NBA in assists four times and steals a record six times. Chris has also been selected to eleven NBA All-Star teams, nine All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams.
He’s been among the highest paid players in the sport and holds endorsement deals with Air Jordan and State Farm. Chris has been President of the NBA players’ award since 2013. In 2022 he was named as one of greatest 50 players from the last 50 years (more here).
- Winner of NBA Most Valuable Player
- 2 x Olympic Gold winner
- NBA All Star player eleven times
By 2019 Chris was 36 and playing in his fifteenth season in the NBA. Aware he was playing men twenty years younger them him, he felt he was slowing down. He’s already worked The Game Changers documentary, so wanted to try a plant-based approach. In April 2022 he became only the fifth player in NBA history to have five assist season titles (more here). Soon after this just before his 37th birthday he broke an NBA playoff record with 14 field goals from 14 attempts (more here).
“People on the internet always wanna judge my game, my body, my style,” he told Men’s Health in a recent video interview.
“I chose a plant-based life. So far, so good. Not easy. But for me it’s working.” He said “I went cold turkey. I tell you: I was itching. I thought I needed a chicken wing or something. But somehow I made it through. I had the opportunity to executive produce a movie/documentary called Game Changers, which talks about plant-based diets and how it helps athletes.
“For me, being as competitive as I am, I looked at this and I was like: hold up, let me try this out. And I tried it, and the first thing that changes when you go plant based—and it might be too much information—is going to the rest room. It becomes … a lot faster. A whole lot faster.”
Chris also said that it helped him feel more energetic and spirited. This wasn’t the only benefit, as he noticed a commonly noted benefit of a clean vegan diet. Chris found that it also allowed his body to recover faster after grueling practices and games.“I do feel really good” he says. “I think the biggest change for me is the aches and pains of the season. I started working out and training and I got to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and I thought, am I not lifting hard enough? Am I not training hard enough? Why am I not achy? I ain’t trying to say you have to stay with it, but give it a try.”
Fuelling up plant based
Luckily Chris is in the enviable position of having a chef. Chef Seong Hwang has given examples of what Chris eats.
Breakfast is often oatmeal, plant-based milk and nut butters. For lunch he often has something with pasta or brown rice. Sometimes he has Beyond Meat sausage, grilled vegetables and maybe curry sauce.
Chris might have a snack of fruit or nuts, or maybe tacos with Beyond crumbled meat. Chef finds that the plant based meats work well with Mexican spices.
Chris’s favourite dinner is the Hawaiian Loco moco, made with Beyond burger on top.
“After every game, Chris will have a Beyond Burger” Seong says. “Athletes are starving after they get done playing and that’s when they’re most susceptible to eat something they’ll regret the next day.”
Training to win
Chris has an effective training regime which he maintains to keep the high levels of fitness he needs. He has several routines which include a rowing machine, front squats, set ups, ab works and work with dumbells and kettlebells.
He recognizes the importance of sticking to a programme as well as being flexible.
“I’ve done boxing in the past when I couldn’t do any weight-bearing stuff, and swimming has been key when I’ve had to stay off my legs for injuries” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping a routine. It’s just like those people who wake up and go to Starbucks every day and get coffee. In the same way, for me, I don’t feel right unless I get up and go to the gym, work out, and do my shooting routine. I don’t feel like myself unless I do what I’m supposed to do each day.”
Chris is also a brand ambassador for vegan company Beyond Meat. Other ambassadors include fellow NBA stars Kyrie Irving, JaVale McGee, and DeAndre Jordan.
He also partner goPuff, which offers a variety of consumer products for quick delivery nationwide. He aims to help the platform diversify its plant-based offerings, particularly those made by Black- and Brown-owned businesses.