Former NBA guard Shandon Anderson now runs a vegetarian restaurant

shandon-anderson-drink-artDid you know that ex-Jazz guard Shandon Anderson has been a vegetarian for over 20 years? Not only that, he has also opened one such restaurant for himself, CNN reported.

The concept for a vegan-focused restaurant was born in 2010. More than 20 years ago Anderson became a vegetarian and eventually he began moving toward a vegetarian lifestyle eating, eating fish and chicken on occasion.

After retiring from the NBA, Anderson recognized that there were only a handful of restaurants that catered to his vegan lifestyle.

Anderson attended the Living Light Culinary Institute in Fort Bragg, California in 2010 and from 2012-2013, he also attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in NY.

A lover of art and food, Anderson wanted a way to combine the two and the vision of “Drink Art” was created. Making sure that his dishes remained true to vegan taste and gave that artistic presence, Anderson hired Phinit na Sangkhamanee (Alex) as the Executive Chef of “Drink Art” restaurant.

“I needed a change. I told myself that my last year in the NBA, was to win a championship and after I did that, I knew it was time to try something new,” Anderson said of his new business.

After leaving basketball, he later realized that he could not prepare a proper dish for himself at home, and most traditional restaurants did not serve the kind of food that he wanted, so he went into survival mode and went to school to learn how to cook.

Anderson attended the Living Light Culinary Institute, Raw Cooking School, Natural Gourmet Institute, and completed an internship at Candle 79, NYC’s premiere vegan oasis.

In addition to all of his formal training, and learning, Anderson credits basketball for giving him the first-hand knowledge on how to manage and what makes a great team, how to establish team goals, and how to make a dream come to life, so all he had to do was network with the right people.

“I am the youngest of 5 kids and when I was about 11, my brothers use to go out and grill steaks. I later tried to grill me a piece of steak, first having trouble with the grill, I finally got it to work. I ate 2 bites of the steaks laid down and later rushed to the hospital. I had to get my stomach pumped and was diagnosed with food poisoning. After that point, I never looked at meat the same,” Anderson recalled of how he first became vegetarian.

With traveling the world and visiting countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Bangkok, he found a love for the vegan.

The benefits of being vegan, in his opinion, are hard to say because everyone is different, everyone’s body is different, and vegan is something you have to learn and research. But for him, vegan gave him the ability to maintain his energy, he does not get sleepy after eating, and it is naturally healthy for you and your digestive system.

While living in Castleberry Hills for about 15 years, he traveled through the art districts, looking at paintings, enjoying the scenery and just loving life.

With all of his travels throughout his basketball career and beyond, that experience motivated him to create his restaurant, “Drink Art”.

“The whole concept of Drink Art is about the arts, you will not only enjoy great food, but view the art gallery, receiving seminars or lessons about certain health issues,” he said. “Yes, blending Thai and Vegan together enhances the flavor in the food and makes the experience that much more enjoyable.”

shandon_anderson_knicksAnderson also said he has ideas to expand his concept beyond his native Atlanta.

“I would love to share this food with not only vegan lovers, but with others who are open to new ideas, food, and just loves to explore,” he said.

He can remember watching his mother and godmother cooking in the kitchen, and later watching people in the living room taking bites with such enjoyment on their face because of such great cooking.

He plans to continue that vision by using his restaurant and the love of food to make others happy.

Anderson also plans to share some of his recipes in a cookbook, that, as he said, might be published in 2014.

He also plans to travel around the world with his food and do a TV show that further showcases what he does at “Drink Art”.

Anderson made it clear that his relationship with basketball is done. He loves what basketball has taught him and how it prepared him to now do what he loves, but right now his love is in the kitchen, with his clientele, and having the ability to make others smile.

“Basketball gave me the ability to travel and I am looking for food to do the same thing,” he said.

An Atlanta native, Anderson started his NBA professional career when he was selected by Utah Jazz in the 1996 NBA draft.

During his professional career as he also played for the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. In 2006, he won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat and soon thereafter he retired.

Anderson played a total of 719 games in the NBA, starting in 226. His career averages stand at 7.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg in 22.2 mpg.


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