As several states made giant steps closer towards the legalization of medical marijuana after November's presidential election, the discourse of professional athletes' usage of weed as an alternative pain continues.
In the basketball world, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Knicks president Phil Jackson, and ESPN's Jay Williams are a few names that have publicly advocated medical marijuana weed for pain relief instead of prescription pills for players. The question remains on whether the NBA should become more lenient in their anti-drug policy that outlaws marijuana usage.
During an ESPN NBA Countdown segment on Friday, former NBA All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups and fellow panelists Tracy McGrady, Jalen Rose, Michelle Beadle discussed with Phil Jackson's support of medical marijuana for players, along with how the NBA Players Association and the NBA should work together to let players smoke without violations from the league.
“For medicinal use, I think we absolutely need to have that conversation,” Billups said. “The Players Association, they need to talk about that with the NBA, because there’s a lot of science behind it… because we’ve been through a ton of injuries. I’ve seen a piece on Jason Williams, who was the No. 2 pick in the draft, that talked about him being addicted to oxycontin and pain pills, and it would have been much better and much easier thing to have marijuana as a relief.”
Billups even claimed that some of his former teammates' performances on the court would improve after they smoked weed before games. He says he encouraged them to do it to quell their anxiety issues before a game's tipoff. "I had teammates…I actually wanted them to smoke, they played better like that. It helped them focus in on the gameplan…I needed them to do that. I would rather them [smoke] sometimes than drink," he said.
I'm sure plenty of players in the NBA today would love to have floor generals like Chauncey on their team right now.