Put the vocal Stephen Jackson and Michael “The Mouth” Rapaport together and you never know what lightning-rod events will emerge.
Former NBA star Jackson, who last played for the LA Clippers in 2014, said he thought replacing painkillers with marijuana would be less toxic to a player’s system and was helpful for him personally during his NBA career when recuperating from injuries.
On Michael Rapaport’s podcast “I AM RAPAPORT” the 14-year NBA vet also said that former NBA coach Don Nelson was cool with the players smoking off the court, and that yes, he did play high a few times.
“Listen, man, one thing about basketball, it’s no PEDs, no steroids, it’s nothing like that,” Jackson said. “From my experience in the league, players that I’ve been around, guys don’t even really drink — some guys do drink, some guys don’t smoke.
I think it’s a higher percentage of guys that smoke than drink. I know coming in, especially in my time, everybody smoked. After games, when I came into the league, there was only one drug test. And that was in the beginning of the season, in training camp. You knew when it was coming. You could smoke the rest of the season. That was the good days.
A lot of guys do it because that’s the best way to relax. You take so much stuff to get up for the games, and guys don’t like taking all those pills and stuff to heal. Go home, smoke your blunt, man. You’ll sleep good….
I can’t speak for nobody else. Me personally, I’ve done a lot of s— before games sometimes and still was out there to go out there and be productive. I just gotta be real, you know, it’s been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games. It’s been some games where I smoked before the game and was on the bench after three minutes, sitting on the sideline, saying, ‘Please calm down, this high has to calm down.’ I done shot three shots that went over the backboard.”
Jackson also said Don Nelson used to talk openly with the players about marijuana use. Then again, Nelson is also old school, from an era where the league had less rules and off-the-court player activity was a bit unruly at times.
People know NBA players get lit off weed, same as European soccer layers get blasted at the pub. It’s just not something most guys admit to doing unless they get caught. Even in retirement, we can always count of Jackson to be a straight shooter, same as he was on that 2003 Spurs championship squad.
If you are within the vicinity of 10 people as you read this, then at least 40 percent of them have indulged in marijuana at some point. With the government and various local municipalities loosening the reigns on the criminalization of weed, people can be more open about their indulgences.
Celebrities always seemed to have a “pass” to get high, but unless they were hip-hop heads they sure didn’t flaunt it while they were getting paid. The iconic weed pub High Times published an All-Stoner NBA Team in 2016 and the top three guys on the list were icons Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, The Chief and Bill Walton.
Celtics legend Robert “The Chief” Parish was the oldest player in the NBA in 1993 when he was charged with possession of marijuana after authorities found the drug at his home in a package addressed to him. Drug-sniffing dogs intercepted his Fedex package containing several ounces of that good-good.
It was kind of a big deal at the time, but not really, because those familiar with the NBA’s inner-circles knew that Chief and a large population of NBA players got high before and in between games. In the '70s, it was cocaine that ravaged the NBA and led to a high level of on-court violence and the decimation of several superstars.
When Stephen Jackson was shooting threes, leading teams and winning NBA championships he was always known as a player who spoke his mind. He also never hid from the fact that he rolls hard with his boys from Port Arthur, Texas, and he’s never attempted to separate himself from friends who can be characterized as “less than choirboys.”
The Shadow League interviewed Jackson back in 2014 when he was Rapper Stak5, godfather of Secret Society Entertainment. Jackson, who was was venturing into a new musical endeavor, told us that today's NBA was "watered down and soft." With him recently admitting that he blew trees before NBA games, it would be safe to say that Stak5 was undoubtedly smoking mad buddah in those recording sessions.