Now, in case you don't know who he is, John Salley is a former Detroit Piston "Bad Boy" who also went on to play for the Bulls and the Lakers over his 15-year NBA career during which he won 4 championships. Since retiring from the NBA in 2000 he has done work in television and film. He has become a wellness advocate involved in nutrition eduction and has been working to encourage people to live healthier by adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. He is involved in PETA and PCRM. And he's a vegan! A RAW vegan!
Aren't you impressed that this 6'11", 252 lb. athlete is a raw vegan?!?
Jaime and I had some of the best seats in the house - 3rd row center! John's introduction could have been quite lengthy (he has accomplished quite a bit in his lifetime, wouldn't you say?); however, he asked for it to be kept simple:
"Four-time NBA Champion and all-around nice guy - John Salley!"
John's presentation this year was entitled "What Does Being Healthy Mean?" and he spoke about the importance of following a vegan diet, eating food that is farm-fresh, and not putting chemicals into your body under the guise of food. Example - If it looks like plastic, feels like plastic, but tastes like licorice, it can't be good for you. It's never been near a farm and it's not food!
He talked about about how we have been brainwashed by the media to think that we like the taste of certain foods, like meat. Or that we don't like the taste of certain foods, like broccoli. We need to be un-brainwashed. We feel good when we eat food that is good for us. We feel bad when we eat food that is bad for us. It's that simple.
He was very laid-back and casual and made excellent points. Because I am vegan, there wasn't anything new for me to hear but I could have sat and listened to him talk all day. He was just so real and down to earth. He talked about how great he feels and how he only weighs 2 pounds more than he weighed in 1989. And without even trying. Just by eating a healthy, vegan diet. How many people can say that?
John also talked about dining at Inn Season and Seva while in the Detroit area, as well as his passion for wine. Really, what's not to love about the guy?
I really wish that some of my guy friends from the gym could hear him talk. The guys who give me a hard time about where I get my protein. The guys who might go veggie now and again but still insist that they "need their meat." The guys who have to reward themselves with a steak dinner after a big race. If John Salley - at 6'11" and 250 lbs. - can manage to get enough protein on a vegan diet, then surely they can too! But John Salley would tell them in a much funnier, nicer, less in-your-face way than I ever could. (John, are you free on Saturday mornings, say 9:30 a.m., for a post-Boot Camp intervention? Ha ha, just kidding!)
After his presentation, John skillfully answered a few questions and then his time was up. Jaime and I hurried out so we could get in line for a photo op. (He promised that with a photo would come a butt grab. I was pretty sure he was joking but hope springs eternal. Sadly, it didn't happen.)
We were so nervous waiting to meet him! Thankfully we didn't have to wait long (we were the 9th and 10th people in line - Jaime let me go ahead of her). I usually don't know what to say when I think of meeting someone famous but this time I decided to be bold. When it was finally my turn I introduced myself and told John that I loved his presentation and that I wished some of my guy friends from the gym could hear him talk. Then I said I'd be posting about it on my vegan blog and I'd put a link to his website. He gave me his email address and said to email him the link. He said the email would go to him personally. John Salley is going to read my blog!! How exciting is that?!?
Answer: VERY EXCITING.
Here are the photos from our encounter.
|John signing his autograph (note the volunteer checking her watch as I'm already taking up a good deal of his time!)|
|John telling me to email him my blog (note my disbelief at this thrilling turn of events!)|
|Some post-Salley excitement|
|Two lucky gals!|
It was an exhilarating day! This was the 4th year that John has been a presenter at VegFest and I hope that he returns again next year.
For more information on John Salley, visit his website at johnsalley.com. You can check out his videos, blog, and "like" him on Facebook. You know I did!