NBA player Bismack Biyombo is a force to be reckoned with on the court. And the shot-blocker, a center for the Charlotte Hornets, does it all while eating a plant-based diet.
About four years ago, the Congolese athlete—who moved to the U.S. in 2011 to play for the NBA—started shifting his diet away from meat. His goal was to promote a healthy gut and overall good digestion.
And in 2018, Biyombo began practicing intermittent fasting. In addition to eating a predominantly plant-based diet, he stopped eating breakfast and snacks. “I started feeling so energetic,” he told Forbes.
“People thought that I would get skinny and slow down,” he continued. “But nothing could be further from the truth.”
He started drinking more water and began eating nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. For lunch, the NBA baller might consume grilled veggies along with a smoothie. And for dinner? More veggies.
Since going plant-based, he’s gained 20 pounds in muscle. He’s also experienced an improvement in performance. Sports Illustrated reports that he had his best offensive season last year.
“Over the past few years I’ve gotten stronger,” Biyombo said. “When I wake up, I’m happy and energetic. My face used to break out a lot. My skin is now breathing.”
Plant-Based NBA Players
Biyombo isn’t the only professional athlete to opt for a plant-based diet. A number of basketball players are also plant-based.
Athletes and Olympic gold medalists Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan have all consumed plant-based diets. The three NBA players have also invested in vegan meat company Beyond Meat. The Brooklyn Nets point guard reportedly stopped eating meat and dairy after watching the Netflix documentary What the Health. And he says ditching meat and dairy has only made him stronger.
During an interview with NBA Countdown, Irving said he’s “been on more of a plant-based diet, getting away from the animals and all that.” He added: “So my energy is up. My body feels amazing.”
And that’s not all. Athletes Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler also opt for plants. According to his website, four-time NBA champion John Salley went vegan after his doctor warned him about how damaging his eating habits were.
“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.”