Pot Use in the NBA: Al Harrington and Former Players Share Their Thoughts


When we see NBA athletes play through pain, we often have nothing but admiration for them. We give them a round of applause as they enter the court several minutes after being taken out on a stretcher. We even tweet about it, making their passion for basketball trend on social media for a few hours or so.

But after the final whistle blows, we go back to our lives while these players walk back to the dugout and deal with the immense pain caused by pushing their bodies to the limit. There’s also the pressure to recover fast, so they can play and win the next game for the team and, of course, for us — the fans.

While still in pain and during recovery, NBA athletes are often prescribed with pain medications and opioids. These medications, however, come with side effects and a risk of addiction. This makes most of us ask, isn’t there a natural, non-addictive alternative that could help our NBA idols manage pain?

The answer is yes — there’s cannabis. The problem, however, is that it’s one of the banned substances in the NBA. A failed drug test could lead to hefty fines and suspension, even for players in states where marijuana is legal. That’s why some former NBA players (and an ex-commissioner) spoke up about it.

Al Harrington Sees Cannabis as a Medicine First

Former Denver Nuggets star, Al Harrington, didn’t smoke marijuana during his 16-season career in the NBA, but he now advocates the use of medical marijuana. He even invested millions into marijuana dispensaries across the US because he saw the benefits of cannabis. His grandmother was in constant pain due to glaucoma, but vaping extracts turned out to be helpful for her. Harrington also shared that since he was introduced to cannabis, he’s had three surgeries but had not taken Vicodin or Oxycontin.

Matt Barnes Developed a Reliable Game-Day Routine, Thanks to Cannabis

In a Washington Post article, former Golden State Warriors forward Matt Barnes remarked that in his 15-year NBA career, his best games were when he was medicated. He shared that smoking a joint was part of his game-day routine, specifically on days when he was nursing a back, toe, or finger injury. Cannabis use also helped him get a good sleep and recover from a tiring day.

Chauncey Billups Had Teammates Who Played Better After Smoking Marijuana

Chauncey Billups played on the Celtics, Clippers, Knicks, Nuggets, Pistons, Raptors, and Timberwolves over the course of a 17-year NBA career. In a 2016 episode of NBA Countdown, Billups shared he actually liked when certain ex-teammates smoked pot before games as it helped calm their nerves.

David Stern Suggests Re-Evaluating the NBA Substance Ban List

In a 2018 video podcast with Al Harrington, David Stern, a former NBA commissioner, remarked it’s high time to remove marijuana from the NBA’s list of banned substances. He further said that if medical marijuana is available in an NBA team’s state, the team doctor should have the option to recommend it.

In response to more states legalizing marijuana and more former players sharing their thoughts about pot use in the league, the current NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said, in a “The Full 48” podcast in December 2018, that research on marijuana is something that the NBA league is examining.

Many NBA players experience pain and anxiety before, during, or after a game. While it’s admirable to see them play through pain and continue to entertain the fans, it’s unfortunate to know they don’t have many options when it comes to pain management. It’s high time they benefit from the good recreational and health effects of cannabis — just like what many people off the court can get these days.

If you want to know more about how both athletes and non-athletes can benefit from BC buds and other cannabis strains online, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Give us a call today and let’s talk about NBA, pot use, and more.

Leave a Reply