Marijuana — medicinal and otherwise — has been a hot topic in the NBA as of late. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he tried it to help his chronic back pain. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said he did the same after a back injury in the late ’60s.
During a discussion on NBA Countdown this week, former NBA player Chauncey Billups said that marijuana usage in the NBA is not only common, but should be discussed in terms of a pain reducer and anxiety aid.
In fact, Billups said that he knew players that played better — or at least more relaxed — when they had partook.
“I honestly played with players … I’m not going to name names … but I wanted them to actually smoke. They played better like that. Big-time anxiety, a lot of things that can be affected, it brought them down a little bit, helped them out, helped them focus in a little bit on the game plan, that I needed them to do that. I would rather have them do that, sometimes, than drink.”
Former NBA great Tracy McGrady was also on the panel, and he concurred with both Jalen Rose and Billups in their assessment and attitude.
“Let’s be honest,” said McGrady, “players are smoking even with the four [drug] tests.”
The discussion is definitely worth listening to, and despite the little tidbit from Billups about players who played while high, it’s great insight from a player prospective. McGrady, Rose, and Billups all were respective of the reality that if it were to ever be allowed by the NBA, it would be highly regulated.
I surmised last week that this discussion will continue, and it looks like the players think it should as well.