At this point, cannabis and the NBA are tied at the hip. Most people associated with the league have either smoked marijuana regularly, or, at the very least, support its usage throughout the NBA. Former NBA power forward Kenyon Martin even estimated that during his time in the league, around 85 % of NBA players smoked the ganja, and it’s safe to say that number probably hasn’t decreased much in the three years he’s been out of basketball. While most players use the herb for some post-game relaxation, one ex-NBAer has admitted to toking up before games: the enigmatic Matt Barnes, who claims to have smoked up plenty of times before game time.
Matt Barnes Says He Smoked A Joint Before Games
Matt Barnes, who retired just last season after winning the NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors, told BBC sports he followed a specific pre-game ritual throughout his time in the NBA; including his lone championship season with the Dubs.
“I would smoke cannabis six hours before a game. We’d have a shoot-around in the morning, I’d come home and smoke a joint, take a nap, shower, eat and go and play.”
This echoed a similar statement Barnes made last month on Bleacher Report’s 4/20 special on cannabis and the NBA. During that interview, Barnes admitted that he actually played better after smoking weed.
“I’m telling on myself, but I don’t give a (expletive) now,” Barnes told Bleacher Report interviewer Master Tesfatsion. “We’d have shoot-around, I’d go home, smoke a joint, take a nap, wake up, take a shower — shower was important, shower would wake me back up — eat, and go to the game,” Barnes said. “All my best games I was medicated.”
Barnes said he even spoke at length with head coach Steve Kerr about cannabis-usage, who also used the plant for pain management when he was going through back surgery. Kerr is a noted cannabis advocate for medical use in the NBA.
Barnes, who only failed a pair of drug tests during his time in the NBA—one in 2007 during his first run with the Warriors, and in 2014 as a member of the L.A. Clippers, said that he was able to get away with smoking on a regular basis after it became easier to understand the NBA’s drug testing schedule.
“I understood how much I could smoke and get it out of my system before my next test,” he admitted.
As for the future of cannabis in the NBA, it appears that the league might cave to players’ concerns. David Stern, a notorious drug stickler during his time as the commissioner, recently admitted that cannabis should be taken off of the league’s banned substance list. Incumbent commissioner Adam Silver has also softened his stance and said he would consider making a move when the right time comes.