Al Harrington has a very real talk with David Stern about weed use in NBA
Al Harrington is really out here.
The former NBA forward, who played for 7 teams over 16 seasons, has become a weed entrepreneur with over $3.5 million invested in grow houses, farms, and facilities across California, Oregon, Michigan, and Jamaica.
In a documentary with LeBron’s Uninterrupted platform, Harrington described how he started in the cannabis game.
After a series of botched knee surgeries gave him a staph infection and chronic pain, Harrington was taking a collection of painkillers just to get through the day.
A friend recommended cannabis, specifically the anti-inflammatory component CBD, to help deal with his pain. After immediately feeling the positive effects of marijuana, Harrington tried to convince his grandmother Viola, who was suffering with glaucoma, to try some weed.
After finally convincing her to try CBD, Harrington’s grandmother claimed she was cured, and Harrington saw the truly medicinal aspects of weed, beyond just helping him with some knee pain.
Now, Harrington is at the forefront of trying to normalize bud in professional sports, where he thinks use is already widespread. He claimed that 70% of athletes across all major sports use pot and that it isn’t just the players. Harrington told Uninterrupted,
“I think it’s that big. Not only the players, but I think coaches consume, I think the owners consume. I think in sports it’s very prevalent and it’s right there.”
After discussing the specifics of his business, Harrington sat down with former NBA commissioner David Stern, who led the NBA during the height of cocaine and drug use amongst the players.
It was under Stern’s tenure (from 1984-2014) that the first marijuana regulations were put in place. Stern told Harrington that rules were implemented because players came to him complaining about other players balling while high,
“It was generally known at some point, until we tightened the rules, that a lot of our players were smoking a lot of marijuana. In fact, some of our players came to us and said, ‘Some of these guys are high coming into the game.’ But we began tightening it up, and at that time, people accepted the generally held wisdom that marijuana was a gateway drug and that if you start smoking, you’re liable to go on to bigger and better stuff.”
But as Stern pointed out, that ‘gateway drug’ idea has changed. And for Stern, it was Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s special on CNN ‘Weed’ that changed his own perception.
Now, the ex-commish says medical marijuana should be legal and the NBA should take it off the list of banned substances,
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think [marijuana] probably should be removed from the ban list. I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
To hear David Stern, who presided over the NBA during years of intense drug use and was in charge of cleaning up the image of the league, say that marijuana should be allowed is pretty wild.
Attitudes are changing, even a couple years ago it would’ve been controversial to see a former NBA player proudly boast their cannabis business like Harrington is.
As for the actual process of the NBA removing marijuana from the banned list, current commissioner Adam Silver told reddit back in August that they’re looking into it,
“I would say it’s something we will look at. I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana.”
The NBA has shown time and time again that they’re the most progressive league in America, constantly finding new ways to market their product and improve the game. Removing weed from the banned list would be a massive step in the continued process of normalization.
One has to imagine it’s only a matter of time.