Stephen Curry, star player of the Golden State Warriors, is fascinated by his vegan teammate Chris Paul and says that plant-based eating has taken over the National Basketball Association (NBA). The four-time NBA championship winner explained these thoughts on a recent episode of the Smartless podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. 

When asked “How long would a guy last in the NBA if all he ate was salad and nuts?” Curry responded with an observation about a trend toward plant-based eating in the sport. 

“The vegan lifestyle has taken over the league,” Curry said. “Honestly, I don’t know how they get their calories. I know there is a science behind it.”

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“One of my teammates, Chris Paul, now who’s been I think vegan for about four years,” Curry said. “I’m fascinated by what he brings on the plane or at mealtime, you know … how he gets his nourishment.” 

Chris Paul’s vegan diet

Paul first adopted a vegan diet in 2019 and joined the Warriors this season after a brief stint on the Washington Wizards, where assistant coach JB Blair—himself a longtime vegan—has been helping players understand the benefits of plant-based eating. 

Confirming Curry’s notion, Blair explained that Paul going vegan had a ripple effect throughout the NBA. 

“I was so happy he did it because to have a player of that magnitude make that decision, it starts to open the eyes of players around him,” Blair told VegNews in a recent interview. “And also, it made teams aware that they needed to make modifications for those players.” 

“There’s always some vegan options available now and it makes such a difference for people to try it,” Blair said. 

So what does Paul eat? A typical lunch, Paul shared with GQ last year, includes salad, a veggie bowl, and a protein drink while dinner is a chef-prepared meal with plenty of beans, grains, and veggies.

The veteran 38-year-old player also loves Just Egg (a mung bean-based egg replacer); Beyond Meat’s vegan breakfast sausages; and plant-based pancakes. He’s also a big fan of snacks. So much so that in 2021, Paul launched his own snack company, Good Eat’n, in partnership with delivery service GoPuff. The brand offers a variety of popcorn, tortilla chips, and porkless rinds, in flavors that were inspired by nostalgic childhood favorites such as Cool Ranch Doritos.

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After four years, Paul—who is also an active investor in the plant-based food space—is thriving on a plant-based diet in the NBA, which has piqued Curry’s curiosity.

“I’m just amazed and I just stare at him,” Curry said in the podcast episode. “I feel like I’m awkward, and I’m just staring at him, asking questions like, ‘How, how?’”

Robert Downey Jr. on Steph Curry’s vegan curiosity  

Actor and environmentalist Robert Downey Jr. heard Curry’s concerns on the Smartless podcast and swooped in to help. The actor is currently making appearances to promote his new plant-centric cookbook Cool Food, which focuses on recipes and advice to help lower individual’s carbon footprints. 

To craft the book—which comes out on January 23—Downey Jr. collaborated with The New York Times bestselling author Thomas Kostigen. The pair recently spoke about the project in a recent livestream with TalkShopLive. 

“I was listening to Steph Curry talking about how many on the team have gone to a complete vegan diet, and he says he’s looking at them going ‘What are they eating?’” Downey Jr. said.

“They’re eating the stuff that you’ll find in this book and they are performing at the highest level of athleticism,” Downey Jr. said. 

For his part, the Iron Man superhero has been investing in eco-friendly startups, including vegan company Chunk Foods which is expanding its plant-based steaks to restaurants nationwide. 

On the livestream, Downey Jr. explained that he had been eating seaweed before it was cool; how the conversation around the climate crisis has been “hijacked by political affiliation”; and his love of mangoes. 

Much like Curry’s commentary on veganism taking over the NBA, Downey Jr. explained that he has witnessed the growth of plant-based catering in Hollywood.

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“These things are offered more by the caterers [on set],” Downey Jr. said. “Anyone who has leverage in these positions, you’re trying to feed 70-80 people and you’re trying to do it quick.”

“But what I’ll tell you is crazy is that the last two projects I’ve done, the amount of vegetarian and vegan options were as varied as my set appeared,” he said. 

Overall, Downey Jr. and Kostigen want to inspire readers to make climate-friendly changes to their diets with a “progress not perfection” ethos in the new year and beyond.

“The way we are trying to make a dent can be done in the simplest forms,” Downey Jr. said. “You don’t need to be living off the grid to make a dent. The impact of just one meal is phenomenal.”

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