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The NBA's Current Discourse On Marijuana Use

It all started with Steve Kerr admitting he dabbled in the doobie
by John Paulo Aguilera | Dec 5, 2016
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A few days ago, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr took everybody by surprise after admitting to marijuana use as a pain reliever for a series of back surgeries.

"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," Kerr spilled the beans on CSN Bay Area's "The Warriors Insider Podcast." "(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don't even know if I'm subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA."

The six-time NBA champion clarified that he is not really a "pot person," as the substance "did not agree with me at all." He did express a favorable stance on cannabis over the drug Vicodin as painkiller.

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The league has already released its statement regarding Kerr's disclosure:

Last offseason, OJ Mayo was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program. While Kerr is very much unlikely to suffer the same fate, his revelation might spark conversation for the Association to review its policy on weed use.

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Having their mentor's back are All-Stars Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, who was arrested for marijuana possession when he was still in college (2011).

In a recent shootaround, Klay pointed out that cannabis should not be used "recreationally." "Steve's open-minded, and obviously with the way the world's going, if there's anything you can do that's medicinal, people are all for it, especially when there's stuff like Crohn's disease out there, glaucoma, a bunch of stuff, cancer. There's a medicinal side to it that people are finding out have benefits, especially people with really high pain."

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Green, for his part, underscored the herb's organic nature. "You look at something that comes from the Earth. Any vegetable that comes from the Earth, they encourage you to eat it. It does make a little sense as opposed to giving someone a manufactured pill. If something takes your pain away like some of these pills do, it can't be all good for you... He talked about Vicodin. Toradal, you can be completely hurting and then take a Toradal shot and go through a game and feel nothing. Is that really good for you over the course of time? I doubt it."

A former player of Kerr, Andrew Bogut (now with the Dallas Mavericks), while having never tried marijuana, understands the league's position on regulating its use in a general sense.

"You are bringing a big can of worms if you allow it [without restrictions]. If you have open season, you're going to have guys, I guarantee you're going to have people playing in a game or practicing high. It's just the reality of it. You have guys in pro sports playing hungover. You have guys come to practice drunk sometimes. That's how it is. If you all of the sudden can smoke, although there are a lot of positives to it, the downside is you could possibly have a lot of guys that are not 100 percent in the present. I think that's why the league is saying what it's saying," he explained to ESPN, but also saying alcohol might even be more harmful than weed.


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Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson, on the other hand, believes that if such cause is to be pushed, the initial argument "would have to come from a physician—not a coach."

"I think our rhetoric on it has to be very careful because you have a lot of kids where I'm from that's reading this, and they think [marijuana use is] cool," Watson told ESPN. "It's not cool. Where I'm from, you don't get six fouls to foul out. You get three strikes. One strike leads to another. I'm just being honest with you, so you have to be very careful with your rhetoric."

Lucky for Kerr he isn't coaching in the PBA—known for its stringent drug measures—and in the country in general. Yikes.


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