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OAKLAND, Calif. – Avocados, oatmeal, textured vegetable protein, pasta, juice and smoothies were part of Ben Gordon's typical diet at the end of last season. In his quest to make the Golden State Warriors' roster, the veteran shooter plans to return to vegetarian mode from time to time to keep his body sharp.
"I experimented with it this summer and the end of last season," Gordon said after the Warriors' first practice of the season on Tuesday. "As you get older you try to see different things that work for you. I'm not doing it right now, but I try to do it functionally depending on how my body feels.
"With all the running and stuff, protein is hard to get by [on a vegetarian diet]. … I like to mix it up."
Gordon, 32, averaged between 15-22 points during the first five seasons of his NBA career, including a career-high 21.4 points during the 2006-07 season. He built a reputation early in his career as one of the NBA's most feared outside threats. But since 2009, his scoring average has largely declined. He's also battled health issues.
Gordon averaged 6.2 points and 14 minutes in 56 games with the Orlando Magic last season. In hopes of more energy, he said he began using a vegetarian diet during the last six weeks of NBA season while playing sparingly for the Magic.
"It was good," he said. "It cleaned out my system. My energy felt great."
Gordon was listed last season at 200 pounds, which is around what his weight has typically been during his career. The diet, however, dropped him down to 185, which is what he weighed while playing at New York Mount Vernon High School. He said he used a chef to keep his vegetarian meals creative and continued the diet until early July.
Gordon has since begun eating meat again for more protein, but still feels spry.
"I had to pick up some more weight," Gordon said. "I got back to a normal diet. But I like to just switch it up at times. I've noticed a major shift in my energy level when I was using the diet."
Gordon has made $84 million during his NBA career. The Magic declined to pick up the second year of a two-year, $9 million deal this offseason, making him a free agent. The Warriors signed the 10-year NBA veteran to a make-good contract and gave him no assurances of making the roster.
Gordon said he wanted to join a winning team and believes he will fit in with the reigning NBA champions. He admitted his situation is challenging, but he at least feels more energetic thanks to his diet.
"Basketball is a gamble," Gordon said. "You shoot some, you make some. I'll take my chances here."