The First NBA Draft Pick Cade Cunningham Is the New Face of the Detroit Pistons. And Vegan Eggs.

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Nineteen-year-old vegan basketball player Cade Cunningham has been chosen as the first draft pick in the NBA. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. Cunningham has also joined the vegan egg company Just Egg as its latest athlete ambassador.

Vegan athlete

Oklahoma State basketball player Cade Cunningham first tried eating vegan for about two weeks out of sheer curiously and how his body would react to it.

On a trip with Team USA to Greece during the FIBA World Cup, Cunningham wasn’t familiar with the food on the journey and started eating at McDonald’s. However, he decided to go back to veganism and this time stick with it.

The Pistons say the team picked Cunningham because of his unique blend of size and skills and his 6-foot-7 frame makes him a threat as the main ball-handler. During his last season at OSU, Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.6 steals.

Promoting egg alternatives

The athlete has also joined forces with Eat Just, makers of the vegan egg alternative JUST Egg.

Detroit’s famous FOLK Cafe will create an animal-free option called ‘Cade Stack’ using the vegan egg. This new option will contain the JUST Egg Folded, along with shakshuka cheese sauce, spread on Zingerman’s plant-based country bread.

Read: Taiwan Pro-Basketball Player Doug Creighton “The Year I Went Vegan Was The Best Of My Career”

NBA players’ stand for veganism

Cunningham isn’t the only vegan NBA player. Kyrie Irving, point guard for the Boston Celtics, has said that his plant-based diet has been instrumental in the team’s recent victories. He has partnered with plant-based meat pioneer Beyond Meat to raise awareness about the benefits of plant-based meat through its “Go Beyond” campaign.

Source: Cade Cunningham

Other vegan NBA players include JaVale McGee, a centre for the Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul. Both of these players joined vegan brands Outstanding Foods and goPuff to encourage their fans to eat vegan. Brooklyn Nets’ vegan centre DeAndre Jordan has his own plant-based cooking show called Cooking Clean and is also an ambassador for Eat Just.

Other athletes swear by a vegan diet for performance. American professional boxer Claressa Shields won the junior middleweight division citing her plant-based diet for her athletic performance. With this new win, she becomes the first woman fighter to win an undisputed championship in two weight classes. Tennis champion Venus Williams is a long-time vegan advocate. She recently launched her own vegan protein shake brand, Happy Viking.

The 2019 documentary The Game Changers helped to highlight the benefits of a plant-based diet by showing professional athletes who say the diets helped reduce recovery times, improve performance, and delayed onset muscle soreness.

Studies have shown that plant-based diets feed gut microbes that help lower the chances of getting heart disease, obesity and diabetes and that there is an “inverse association” between an increased intake of these foods and the mortality rates caused by heart disease.

Read: Plant-Based Fitness: Meet Hong Kong’s Vegan Lifting Crew

Lead image courtesy of NBA.


  • Tanuvi Joe

    Born and bred in India and dedicated to the cause of sustainability, Tanuvi Joe believes in the power of storytelling. Through her travels and conversations with people, she raises awareness and provides her readers with innovative ways to align themselves towards a kinder way of living that does more good than harm to the planet. Tanuvi has a background in Journalism, Tourism, and Sustainability, and in her free time, this plant parent surrounds herself with books and rants away on her blog Ruffling Wings.

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