Exploring Cannabis Use in Sports: The Weird Relationship Between the NBA & Cannabis

George Khoshaba
Exploring Cannabis Use in Sports: The Weird Relationship Between the NBA & Cannabis

There’s a long list of NBA superstars who are public advocates of cannabis being a part of their game.

For a long time it wasn't accepted by the league, but former teammates & current hosts of ‘All the smoke’ podcast Matt Barnes & Stephen Jackson have been fighting for decades for cannabis acceptance within the league. For instance Stephen Jackson has publicly stated cannabis playing a major role in recovery from his injuries within his career & extended his playing career into his late 30s. Today, they've had plenty of current & former stars on their podcast such as Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Al Harrington & of course one of the greatest point guards of all time (as well one of the hard hitting strains of cannabis)… Gary Payton. These stars publicly state their use of cannabis off… and on the court, admitting to playing a game or two while high.

 NBA Players: Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson

In the episode with Klay Thompson,

Klay tells the story of himself getting pulled over and arrested for having less than a gram of marijuana in his possession. Kevin Durant is one of if not the most polarizing superstars in all of sports, being the most talented scorer of all time whilst also a huge advocate of cannabis consumption in sports. Being a supporter of such a topic whilst being such an incredible athlete is amazing for the cannabis community, as it debunks the myth of cannabis bringing down athletes.

 NBA Player: Klay Thompson

If consumed the right way I believe cannabis is a great way for athletes to help themselves improve the longevity of their careers

It's a great way to come down after playing an hour of such intense exercise. Kevin Durant had an interview with the infamous David Letterman in which he stated he was high during the interview & compared the consumption of marijuana to having a glass of wine. Durant’s constantly scrutinized for everything he does, regardless of being one of the best players of all time. Questioned for everything but his play on the court, he realized early in his career the motives of getting a headline from the media instead of talking about the game. He mentions in his interview with Letterman of the distractions the media bring, & that since he started smoking cannabis in his fourth season in the league it helped him settle down & relax from all the scrutiny he has received. Athletes are always in the spotlight & criticized by the media, it has to be stressful being critiqued for your every move on & off the court… I’d imagine cannabis might be the best (& safest) vice to calm the nerves of being critiqued by millions.

 NBA Player: Kevin Durant

There are plenty of NBA past & present stars investing in the cannabis industry

Whether it's Kevin Durant in ‘weedmaps,’ Gary Payton in ‘Cookies,’ & the biggest yet Al Harrington building his own business & even expanding all across North America. ‘Viola’ being the name of his company, founded in 2011 whilst he was still thriving with Denver Nuggets Harrington was looking for ways to build ventures past his playing career. Recently expanding to Canada Harrington has broken barriers for the stigma of cannabis within sports & the NBA. Since Harrington's retirement from the NBA, marijuana is still banned from the NBA but drug tests for cannabis use have been scrapped which is a huge step in the right direction. The community of avid cannabis users in the league grows everyday as players realize the benefits of the plant for their careers, thanks to many before them such as Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes & many others.

 NBA Player: Al Harrington
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