Phil Jackson Says He Smoked Marijuana During Recovery from Back Surgery

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“I was smoking marijuana during that period of time,” Jackson said during We Need to Talk on CBS Sports Network (via CBSSports.com’s James Herbert). “I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever. But I never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation.”

While playing for the Knicks, Jackson had spinal surgery that kept him out for the entire 1969-70 season.

Jackson then turned the discussion to marijuana usage more broadly among NBA players: “We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA. I don’t think we have been able to stop it. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA. It is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it.”

His comments come after Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he used medicinal marijuana when he was experiencing back pain. On The Warriors Insider podcast (via ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes), Kerr said the marijuana didn’t help him cope with the pain, but he understood why athletes might use marijuana for similar reasons.

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