The ex-NBA champ had some interesting remarks about the league's drug policy.
As cannabis use becomes more accepted, another ex- NBAer thinks the league needs to implement a serious change in drug policy. Former NBA player Stephen Jackson is advocating for legal weed. The basketball star was never one to mince words during his playing career. He didn’t shy away when reporters asked if the plant should be taken off the National Basketball Association’s banned substance list.
“I think they should take it off,” Jackson told TMZ Sports.
Jackson played in the NBA from 2000-2014 and won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003. He claimed that he smoked weed for the entirety of his fifteen-year career, with no ill-effects.
“I smoked my whole career, had a hell of a career. I didn’t miss no games,” Jackson said.
When asked why he thinks the drug is still off-limits in the league, Jackson had an interesting theory.
“They can’t control it,” Jackson said. ” They won’t let it be legal until they can control it.”
Jackson went on to tell TMZ that he never smoked weed before games, but just as a relaxation tool post-game. However, this conflicts with what he said on actor Michael Rapaport’s podcast I AM RAPAPORT back in January of last year. There, Jackson admitted to the host that he would occasionally smoke before games—with mixed results.
“I can’t speak for nobody else,” Jackson said. “Me personally, I’ve done a lot…before games…and still was out there…and…productive. I just gotta be real…it’s been a couple games where I smoked before…had great games. It’s been some games where I smoked before the game and was on the bench after three minutes…saying, ‘Please calm down, this high has to calm down.’ I done shot three shots that went over the backboard.”
However, Jackson went on to say that most players around the league did use it after games and that it was just a way for players to relax, treat injuries or just simply go to sleep.
“A lot of guys do it because that’s the best way to relax,” he continued. “You take so much stuff to get up for the games, and guys don’t like taking all those pills and stuff to heal. Go home, smoke your blunt, man. You’ll sleep good.”
Stephen Jackson is far from the first person with ties to the NBA to suggest it’s time for the league to change its outdated drug policy. In fact, ex-NBA commissioner David Stern even said it’s time for a change.
Stern, a known stickler when it came to drugs during his tenure as commissioner, explained that with all we know about pot now, there should be a corresponding change in drug policy.
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think [cannabis] probably should be removed from the ban list,” Stern said while appearing on Al Harrington’s digital sports show Uninterrupted. “I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
Former NBA power forward Al Harrington, whose show Stern appeared on, has also advocated for the use of marijuana in sports. And he believes usage goes beyond just players.
“Not only the players, but I think coaches consume, I think the owners consume. I think in sports it’s very prevalent and it’s right there,” Harrington said.
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