John "Spider" Salley is one of the more vocal professional vegan athletes out there, and to kick off 2011, he has once again teamed up with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to promote plant-based meals to kids. 

The NBA star, who holds the record for playing on three championship-winning teams, went from the standard American diet to macrobiotic, vegan, and finally raw vegan. The reason: health, spirituality and because he felt it was up to him to be “the mirror.” 

In the new 30-second television spot, Salley fights against childhood type-2 diabetes, a disease that currently affects nearly 24 million children and adults in the United States.

“One in every three little kids is going to develop diabetes in their lifetime,” says Salley, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. “You can up your defenses by eating more fruits and vegetables and having more vegetarian and vegan meals. These steps are power plays to protect you and your family against the risk of diabetes.”

Back in January 2010, Salley made a similar appeal, urging parents to consider alternatives to the less-than-healthy snacks kids crave.

“Adults influence kids’ eating habits. We have to improve kids’ eating habits — and re-educate adults about what is food and what is not food. People can have pizza and pastries without dairy products and eggs. They can have tofu mozzarella cheese or egg substitute and they should use agave in place of high-fructose corn syrup and refined whole sugar.”

Check out the PSA below:

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

NBA star John Salley promotes plant-based meals for kids
Vegan athlete appears in new campaign urging kids to avoid diabetes by eating more vegetarian and vegan meals.