Stephen Jackson admits he smoked marijuana before a few games, played high
During the long grind of the season, the NBA is about recovery. Itís why getting players enough sleep ó changing travel schedules around, canceling shootarounds, etc. ó has increasingly become a focus of NBA teams. Sleep is the best thing for recovery.
Would marijuana use help with that? Would it be less toxic to playersí systems than some of the pain killers they take now? Iím not a doctor, Iím not about to play one on the Internet, but itís an interesting discussion.
Former NBA star Stephen Jackson said he thought it was helpful while joining Michael Rapaportís podcast ďI AM RAPAPORTĒ where Jackson also said Don Nelson was cool with the players smoking off the court, and sure he did play high a few times. (Hat tip to CBSSports.comís James Herbert for the transcription.)
ďListen, man, one thing about basketball, itís no PEDs, no steroids, itís nothing like that,Ē Jackson said. ďFrom my experience in the league, players that Iíve been around, guys donít even really drink ó some guys do drink, some guys donít smoke. I think itís a higher percentage of guys that smoke than drink. I know coming in, especially in my time, everybody smoked. After games, when I came into the league, there was only one drug test. And that was in the beginning of the season, in training camp. You knew when it was coming. You could smoke the rest of the season. That was the good days.
ďA lot of guys do it because thatís the best way to relax,Ē he continued. ďYou take so much stuff to get up for the games, and guys donít like taking all those pills and stuff to heal. Go home, smoke your blunt, man. Youíll sleep goodÖ.
ďI canít speak for nobody else,Ē Jackson said. ďMe personally, Iíve done a lot of só before games sometimes and still was out there to go out there and be productive. I just gotta be real, you know, itís been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games. Itís been some games where I smoked before the game and was on the bench after three minutes, sitting on the sideline, saying, ĎPlease calm down, this high has to calm down.í I done shot three shots that went over the backboard.Ē
Jackson said Don Nelson used to talk openly with the players about marijuana use. I doubt he had those conversations with Gregg Popovich.
And Jackson tells a good story.
Youíre living in a bubble if you donít think a few players in every professional sport on the planet play high sometimes, as well as get high off the court/field/track. That doesnít make it common anywhere. If you think it happens more in the NBA than the NFL or top European soccer leagues, that speaks more to your perceptions and biases about NBA players than it does reality.
However, as marijuana continues its march to being legal in the United States ó it will be, despite what some in power now may want to see, look at the age breakdowns of who supports and opposes it becoming legal ó it is something all sports leagues are going to have to deal with. Itís never going to be okay with the leagues to have players take the field high, thatís an injury liability, but as attitudes toward off-court use change leagues will need to change.