Photo: Mike Pont / Contributor (Getty Images)

Big news: a very tall human will be in a commercial for meat that isn’t meat. Vegan News directs us to this Los Angeles Times report on the growing interest in meat alternatives within the NBA, which includes the information that Beyond Meat will soon announce a partnership with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. That partnership, per the Times, will include a commercial.

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Irving’s relationship with the brand isn’t new. Per VN, Irving ditched meat during the 2017 NBA offseason, and after mentioning his diet change to reporters, Beyond Meat began sending him samples:

“I was noticing that I wasn’t able to recover as fast after games and workouts,” he said. “I did a lot of research and learned that my diet could be a factor.

“It was good timing as I was struggling to find quality plant-based foods that still had a lot of flavor.”

He’s since worn the Beyond Meat logo a whole lot, and he’s currently staring back at you from the landing page of the brand’s website.

Irving isn’t the only athlete to support the brand. JaVale McGee of the Los Angeles Lakers, DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans, and Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley (winner of the Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award for 2018) have all stopped by the Beyond Meat headquarters and turned up on the brand’s Instagram feed:

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I can sense all the flat earth-related jokes in the making, but this is no small deal. This Fast Company piece notes that companies making meat alternatives are actively trying to rewrite the tired narrative that meat = masculine. In that vein, Beyond Meat—which, as a refresher, is the not-meat that bleeds—isn’t wanting for press or for athlete/celebrity supporters. More and more NBA players are turning to plant-based diets, and Irving is a tall person with a big name, partnering with a big brand for a big commercial. A lot of people, many of them kids, will see the thing. It’s likely that at least some of them will want to see the beet juice stream out of the not-meat patty while it cooks.

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