During his 30-year tenure as NBA Commissioner, David Stern led the way for a much stricter policy on drug use, especially marijuana.
Apparently, the planet was became tightly regulated after players complained that their peers were coming to games high.
“It was generally known at some point, until we tightened our rules, that a lot of our players were smoking a lot of marijuana,” Stern said, during a recent interview for Uninterrupted. “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.”
Stern didn’t name any players specifically, but retired NBA champ Stephen Jackson once admitted that he used to smoke weed before games.
Despite his feelings toward weed while commissioner, he sees it much differently in 2017. Stern said he watched a CNN series that changed his perception of medical marijuana, and now believes professional sports leagues should rethink their drug policies.
“I think all of the leagues are now appropriately focused on player training, structuring of the right parts of their body, player rehabilitation in the case of injury, player nutrition, player this, player that. This should be a part of the conversation,” he said. “Can you imagine if we could create a situation where every superstar was able to play one additional year?”
While Stern has changed his mind regarding marijuana, the NBA hasn’t… and players still face suspensions if they are caught using marijuana.
“While Commissioner Silver has said that we are interested in better understanding the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, our position remains unchanged regarding the use by current NBA players of marijuana for recreational purposes,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.