This week, vegan protein brand Vega signed a sponsorship deal with professional basketball player JaVale McGee, the Canadian brand’s first deal with a major league athlete. McGee has been vegan for three years and is a champion of Vega products. “Vega has been my go-to nutrition since I made the transition to a plant-based diet in 2016,” McGee, who is currently a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, said. “Following a plant-based diet has led to an enormous improvement in my performance as an athlete. It’s literally been a game changer. I’m excited to finally partner with a brand that has played such a pivotal role in my journey over the past few years.” In 2018, McGee spoke candidly about his plant-based diet—stating that it helped him to “get up and down the court”—while playing for the Golden State Warriors, which won the NBA championship that year. “JaVale is an athlete, at the top of his game and truly embodies what Vega represents,” Samantha Taylor, Vice President of Marketing at Vega, said. “He has been a pioneer within his sport, blazing a trail for an increasing number of athletes who have witnessed the benefits of a plant-based diet and are following his lead. We receive countless athlete sponsorship requests, but this partnership was such a natural fit for us, given JaVale’s passion for Vega and influence driving the plant-based nutrition message across the NBA.” Earlier this year, McGee joined a long list of athletes—including fellow NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, and Shaquille O’Neal—as investors in vegan brand Beyond Meat.