I like to think that veganism will make progress when it goes mainstream – that is, when people from all walks of life make the change away from meat, eggs, and dairy. While I think that is still a fair way off, over the past couple of years I’ve noticed a few positive changes. Mainly it’s been the growth in availability of vegan foods, and the development of vegan restaurants, especially overseas. But another nice change is the ‘popping up’ of vegans in unexpected places. While it’s never surprising to find vegan celebrities, like musicians or actors, the sports world has been pretty resistant. Here in NZ, we’re constantly subject to the Evers-Swindell twins dancing around to the joy of dead cow and lamb, or some cyclist peddling McDonalds proteins.
Thus it was a nice surprise for me to listen to one of my favourite podcasts – Adam Carolla’s show – and hear him interview John Salley, a four time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers. He isn’t an “all-time” great, but he was a solid pro who had a long promising career, and he’s now a media commentator, into a range of different things, including doing some commentary on NBA games.
He’s also gone vegan, and is encouraging others to do the same. He’s even created his own line of foods that are promoted as proudly vegan. It’s just one little step, that’s for sure, but getting personalities like Salley on board is an important part of explaining that you can be vegan, healthy, active, and at the top of your sport. I am a huge NBA fan, and while I was never a fan of Salley in his playing days – the Pistons were an arch rival of my favourite team – I sure am now. Good on you John! Who will be the first major NZ sports figure to come out and proudly say ‘I’m vegan too’?