Marijuana Use Ingrained In NBA Culture Says NY Knicks President
In an appearance on CBS Sports Network this week New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said marijuana use is ingrained in the NBA and there is no way it can be legislated out of pro basketball. His comments are not particularly surprising considering his own admitted marijuana and other drug consumption during his time on the court.
On Tuesday's "We Need To Talk" he brought up the medicinal benefits of the plant, claiming it worked as a distraction for him personally, though he didn't classify it as a typical pain medication.
"It was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever," he said of his usage during the 1969 to 70 NBA season, following back surgery.
Jackson's description of pot's effect on pain and life's broader woes is not that out of the ordinary, as what makes a drug suitable for pain relief is a lot more complex than many people consider. Is it anti-inflammatory? Does it target pain receptors directly? Does it act on neurotransmitters that play a role in pleasure and reward? Does getting "high" just take your mind off pain and life, and if so what does that really mean?
However you choose to look at it, it is now broadly accepted by the medical community that marijuana relieves various types of pain and treats the symptoms of several specific conditions. It therefore stands to reason that premiere athletes, such as those in the NBA would smoke and consume it. No matter how well conditioned you are there is a consistent level of pain associated with partaking in most sports and also just the need to calm down and relax after pushing the body to its limits.
Just a few days ago Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted to using marijuana to help with back pain, stemming from his playing days. "I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I've actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I've been going through this chronic pain that I've been dealing with," he told the Warrior's Insider Podcast on Friday.
Kerr had surgery in 2015 and preferred pot to opioids like Vicodin. "I know enough, especially over the last couple years, having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff -- Vicodin is not good for you," he said.
"It's way worse for you than pot, especially if you're looking for a painkiller and you're talking about medicinal marijuana, the different strains what they're able to do with it as a pain reliever. I think it's only a matter of time before the NBA and NFL and Major League Baseball realize that."
Of course, it's also fun too. Players use weed for numerous reasons and Jackson agrees that it's not logical to try and to stop them.
"We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA. I don't think we have been able to stop it," he said. "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."
Presumably the main reason to keep drugs out of sports is because they are illegal, but with marijuana that's slowly beginning to change. 20 states have legalized medical marijuana and the vast majority of players would be able to point to some pain or other reason why they should be legally prescribed it.
The second reason is performance enhancement, and while there may be an argument for creative enhancement and the ability to view the game from a different perspective, the enhancement does not really fall in to the same category as steroids or uppers.
Currently marijuana is indeed banned by the NBA, but it is not really a focus of testing. "I don't know if we can equate it to gay marriage or whatever else, but it's a decision that's going to be made by our population at some point. They're going to come out and make that decision for us," concluded Jackson.
Across the pond the EU Parliament recently held the International Conference on Medical Cannabis, with a strong push towards changing legislation to accommodate medical marijuana.Posted by KeelanB at December 7, 2016 7:50 AM