As marijuana legalization continues to grow, the NBA will be forced to consider allowing it for medicinal purposes. Chauncey Billups thinks it should happen soon.
During a roundtable discussion on ESPN’s NBA Countdown former All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups made some interesting suggestions on how the NBA Players Association and the NBA should handle marijuana use.
Billups feels that players should be allowed to smoke weed for medicinal purposes to treat injuries and anxiety. He thinks that marijuana is a much better alternative than the highly-addictive prescription pills that players are allowed to take.
“For medicinal use, I think we absolutely need to have that conversation,” he says. “The Players Association, they need to talk about that with the NBA, because there’s a lot of science behind it… because we’ve been through a ton of injuries. I’ve seen a piece on Jason Williams, who was the No. 2 pick in the draft, that talked about him being addicted to oxycontin and pain pills, and it would have been much better and much easier thing to have marijuana as a relief.”
Fellow ex-player commentators Jalen Rose and Tracy McGrady chimed in saying they’ve never seen weed hurt anybody in the league and that alcohol actually has a worse effect on players. Rose in particular theorized that because players can’t smoke weed without getting in trouble for it, it forces them to drink even more.
Billups, without dry snitching, also said that he’s had teammates who smoked during the season and that it actually helped them play better.
“I had teammates…I actually wanted them to smoke, they played better like that,” said Billups, mentioning that it helped calm their anxiety. “It helped them focus in on the gameplan…I needed them to do that. I would rather them [smoke] sometimes than drink.”
The weed conversation has intensified in recent weeks as both Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and New York Knicks president Phil Jackson both said they’ve smoked weed to treat back pain. In 2014, retired Milwaukee Bucks player Larry Sanders advocated for medical marijuana retired after being suspended for smoking.
“I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it,” said Sanders who walked away from basketball citing anxiety and depression as reasons why. “I know what it is if I’m going to use it. In a lot of ways we’ve been deprived. You can’t really label it with so many other drugs that people can be addicted to and have so many negative effects on your body and your family and your relationships and impairment. This is not the same thing.”