As we’ve previously discussed, the state of California voted overwhelmingly to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is set to take effect in 2018, allowing anyone in California over the age of 21 to legally smoke pot. Unfortunately this does not include players for the Golden State Warriors since marijuana is still prohibited in the NBA, although head coach and reigning NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr has taken a controversial stance by admitting he’s used marijuana to treat chronic pain.
Kerr took about four months off last year after undergoing surgery for a ruptured disc, causing him to miss 43 games that season. While discussing the surgery and lingering chronic pain on his podcast, he admitted to trying marijuana for some relief.
“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 said. “After a lot of research, and 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.”
He also touched on the hypocrisy of a marijuana ban despite Vicodin “being prescribed like it’s vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”
“I’m always struck every time I’m home on the couch watching a sporting event, some drug commercial comes on, they show these happy people jumping in a lake, rowing a boat, then you just wait for the qualifier. Side effects include suicidal thoughts and possible death. And you’re like, this is insane. Insane.”
It’s understandable why Kerr is hesitant to discuss it since marijuana is such a controversial topic in professional sports, but Warriors players David West and Draymond Green are proud of the dialogue their coach has sparked. West has had four surgeries throughout his NBA career; Green has not had any surgeries or tried marijuana himself, but thinks there’s valid reasons why pot should be allowed in pro sports.
“You look at something that comes from the Earth. Any vegetable that comes from the Earth, they encourage you to eat it," Green said. "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.”
Toradal, for example, can take players from the point of unbearable pain to functional enough to get through a game. “Is that really good for you over the course of time?” Green asked. “I doubt it.”Some of the most common injuries in basketball are ACL tears, broken noses, finger strains, groin strains, and shin splints, many of which require surgery and a long, painful recovery period involving months of physical therapy. While marijuana may not be the solution to all of these injuries, it may provide a less dangerous relief without the risk of opiate addiction. Until then, the Golden State Warriors will have to pass on passing the joint.