Shaquille O'Neal, who just turned 50, has just joined the team of plant-based athletes. The superstar basketball Hall of Famer joins a list of champions who choose to fuel up on vegan eats, which includes Venus Willians, Tom BradyNovak Djokovic, Alex Morgan, and dozens of other elite athletes who have ditched meat and dairy for better health and optimal physical performance.

The 7-foot-11, 320-pound former NBA Lakers-turned-Celtics star was spotted recently at the Slutty Vegan in Atlanta, where he enjoyed lunch with comedian Rip Micheals for his new show, "Urban Eats & Treats" a food-and-travel series on the Pluto cable network, where the vegan tea was spilled.

In the interview, Shaq confessed not only to loving Slutty Vegan but also to wanting to go vegan himself. Eating this way allows him to still eat all his favorite foods and look out for his body and health at the same time he told Micheals, and then Shaq added that he's trying his best to go vegan.

Shaq posts up at Slutty Vegan in Atlanta whenever he is in that part of the world and is in the mood for a guilt-free version of the meals he used to scarf down to refuel after playing his 19-year career and being famous for scoring 28,596 points and 13,099 rebounds that helped his six teams win four championships.  "Whenever I want to cheat, I come over here and cheat," he said.

"My friend introduced me to this place [Sultty Vegan] and it's healthy," said Shaquille O'Neal in a part of the interview. "For example, I like cheeseburgers, right? But the way she [Pinky Cole] cooks it, I can eat healthily, but still, feel like I'm eating bad."

Before stepping into the plant-based paint, Shaq used to think a healthy diet consisted of chicken salad, steak, and fish, but now that he's making moves to a vegan diet, he appreciates Slutty Vegan even more because the restaurant makes him feel like he's eating junk food while still feeling lighter, more energized, and healthier than what he used to feel like before eating vegan.

Slutty Vegan is the innovative, fast food joint founded and operated by entrepreneur and local activist Pinky Cole, famous for piled high burgers with colloquial names like "One Night Stand," "Super Slut," and "Fussy Hussy." The chain is expanding rapidly and is set to introduce a new location in Brooklyn, New York, which should open before this summer.

If you're like Shaq and want an easy way to go plant-based for the first time, try The Beet's Free 7-Day Beginner's Guide plan.

For more plant-based happenings, visit The Beet's News category.

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