Among those fortunate few was a cohort of NBA players; in addition to Redick, Irving and Paul, investors included Victor Oladipo, Harrison Barnes and DeAndre Jordan, none of whom, it’s safe to say, needed a windfall. Most weren’t in it for the cash; rather, they are both converts and proselytizers. Some, like Paul and Redick, eat both plant and animal protein. Others, like Jordan—who was recently in New York hyping the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich at Dunkin’ Donuts—have gone, as Redick says, “full vegan on us.”
The NBA connection makes sense, at least in one respect. Today’s players are constantly seeking micro advantages. The Lakers traveled with a bone broth chef at Kobe Bryant’s behest; LeBron James uses cryotherapy. If a plant-based diet really can extend a playing career—as Brown contends and many believe—then reducing meat intake is worth the trade-off.
From another perspective, however, the idea that NBA players are now the face of veggie burgers represents a seismic shift—both in business strategy and in people’s views on food, sports and masculinity.