NBA star Chris Paul is teaming up with plant-based beverage brand Koia to bring healthy, nutrient-rich food options to underserved communities across the US. The Phoenix Suns point guard went vegan in 2019, and since has dedicated himself to advocating for plant-based eating, investing in several vegan companies over recent years. The partnership between Paul and Koia aims to bring Koia vending machines to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide, beginning this year and expanding into 2022.

Alongside the HBCU vending machines, Paul will purchase 50,000 Koia Staw-nana Dream Smoothie to donate to the online grocery platform GoPuff. The donated smoothie drinks will be delivered to GoPuff customers across the US. Earlier this year, Paul teamed up with the company to promote Black-owned businesses suffering from financial offsets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA star worked with the delivery service to expand its “Better for You” category, expanding the platform’s plant-based products and connecting it to moe Black-owned businesses.

“My hope for investing in Koia and other changemakers in the industry is that we work together toward a bigger systemic culture shift where underserved communities have access and opportunity to live better, healthier lives,” the two-time Olympic gold medalist said.

The famous athlete attributes his improved athletic performance to his switch to plant-based eating. He’s claimed in the past that a plant-based lifestyle boosts his over health and performance, both on the court and at home. Paul’s mission is to spread his knowledge and tell people about his experience, hoping to persuade people to try healthier, more nutritious food options.

Koia products boast a high-protein, vitamin-rich vegan recipe, giving consumers an easy and healthy way to live healthier. The smoothie company produces nearly 20 flavors and markets itself as an accessible pathway to plant-based consumption. The company is also slated to reduce sugar in its product category by nearly 4 million pounds.

“We are thrilled to partner with Chris Paul because he’s an exceptional human being on and off the court, embodying the power of plant-based nutrition,” Koia CEO and Co-founder Chris Hunter said. “We are aligned with Paul around a vision of the future where everyone has access to healthy food and look forward to working together to make that a reality.”

Paul’s vegan involvement extends beyond his new partnership with Koia. The athlete invested in Beyond Meat immediately following his public switch to vegan eating. The star upholds that his dietary transition allowed him to boost his athletic ability, providing him with the necessary nutrient to stay in the best shape, inspiring him to bring vegan products and eating into the spotlight with him.

“For me, being as competitive as I am, I looked at this and I was like: hold up, let me try this out. And I tried it, and the first thing that changes when you go plant-based—and it might be too much information—is going to the restroom. It becomes… a lot faster. A whole lot faster,” Paul said to Men’s Health. “I do feel really good right now. I think the biggest change for me is the aches and pains of the season. I started working out and training and I got to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and I thought, am I not lifting hard enough? Am I not training hard enough? Why am I not achy? I ain’t trying to say you have to stay with it, but give it a try.”

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