Article by Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo Sports
In the wake of both Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson’s recent admission that they’d taken marijuana following significant, life-altering back surgeries, the NBA has been forced to discuss something it had ably kept at arm’s length for decades.
The league doesn’t really have a pot problem, in spite of its strong use. To some, pot acts as a solution, so much so that the league will be faced with staring down the idea of lifting restrictions on its use for players and coaches as society in general warms to both medicinal and recreational legalization of cannabis. For now, the league’s penalties following positive drug tests are relatively tame – a five-game suspension for a third positive test, following a $25,000 fine on the second offense.
Speaking on ESPN on Friday night, former Finals MVP and NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups discussed the fact that more than one of his former teammates (on the Celtics, Raptors, Nuggets, Magic, Timberwolves, Pistons, Nuggets again, Knicks, Clippers and Pistons again) actually played better basketball after ingesting pot.
“I honestly played with players – I’m not going to name names, of course I’m not – I wanted them to smoke. They played better like that. Big time anxiety, a lot of things can be affected – [marijuana] brought ‘em down a bit, it helped them focus in a little bit on the game plan. I needed them to do that. I would rather them do that than, sometimes, drink.”
Given that this is a bit of a low bar – preferring one recreational substance over another prior to being paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to play a lone game of professional basketball – we can agree with Dr. Billups. Yes, if given the choice, kindly do toke up before starting at shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets, as opposed to downing a few Moscow Mules before the contest.