It’s not a big secret that many professional athletes are cannabis consumers. But just how many partake in toking? Well, if this NBA estimate is accurate and holds true across all sports, the more fitting question might be “who doesn’t smoke?” In a past interview with Fox Business, former Duke University All-American and Chicago Bulls guard Jay Williams said between 75 and 80 percent of NBA players use cannabis. That sure is a lot of pro-marijuana NBA sentiment.
Perhaps not all professional sports have such high consumption rates, but since the NBA seems to be the standard-bearer for marijuana use, we thought we’d compile a starting 5 roster of pro-marijuana NBA stars. Their playing days are behind them, of course. We wouldn't want to get any active players in trouble. So, here they are:
One look at Bill Walton (former NBA All-Star, MVP, and two-time champion) might be enough for the casual observer to think “Yeah, that dude likes reefer.” His stoner-chic fashion sense and well-known love of the Grateful Dead are telltale giveaways. But he has also grown more outspoken as a cannabis advocate during his basketball retirement, publicly musing that “this whole war on drugs has been an absolute failure across the board. Why are we punishing people for things that are legal? Why are people languishing in jail for things that are legal?” We agree, and Walton is definitely our pro-pot starting center.
One of the toughest things former professional athletes face is to find a new calling once their playing days are done. Yet former NBA All-Star, Sixth Man of the Year, and defensive guru for the ages Cliff Robinson has done just that. Today, he’s arguably the most active pro-marijuana NBA voice. Earlier in May 2017, Robinson went so far as to offer a formal written testimony to the Oregon legislature pleading with them to vote ‘yes’ on a Oregon Senate Bill 307, which would allow “regulation by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission of consumption and sale of cannabis items at temporary events, including licensure of premises on which temporary events are held.” He also has his own line of cannabis products.
As a player, former NBA champion Stephen Jackson was the quintessential journeyman, playing for 8 different teams in 14 seasons — and that’s after playing three professional years abroad and in the Continental Basketball Association. Jackson could pour in the points, averaging over 15 points per game during his career. And as odd as it may sound, some of his best shooting performances were done while high. It’s true, he says. “I just gotta be real, you know, it's been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games.” Well, ok then. Whatever works!
Steve Kerr has an insanely rich NBA resume, including five championships and three-point shooting crown. And that’s just as a player. As a coach, he’s steered the Golden State Warriors to two league titles, also earning Coach of the Year status in 2016. Not too shabby. Kerr has also called into question the league’s stance on medical marijuana use, saying “I think it's a very important issue to talk about, having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery back surgery, a lot of pain, chronic pain. The issue that's really important is how do we do what's best for the players?” Swish.
We’ll conclude this list where we started it — with Jay Williams. Before playing for the Chicago Bulls, Williams claimed an NCAA title at Duke University where he was an All-American and named the National College Player of the Year. Now a college basketball analyst, Williams has taken the opportunity to encourage the NBA to amend its cannabis policies, drawing from his own past experiences: “It’s easy for doctors to prescribe you Oxycontin, and look, I was addicted to it for five-plus years, so I know. But when you say 'marijuana,' you get a reaction: ‘Ahhh, it’s a gateway drug.’ It’s something that the whole world is becoming more progressive with. So it’s about time some of these entities do as well.”
So there you have it, our starting 5 pro-marijuana NBA stars. We'll put them up against any lineup any day.