Simmons: "Should the NBA legalize pot? It's on my list."
Durant: ......... "Yeah"
Simmons: "Why do you think they haven't?"
Durant: "Just the stigma on it
If you listen to the latest BS podcast with Kevin Durant, about an hour and a half in, it is the first time the conversation slows down. Up until that point, Durant is quite relaxed and open, shoots from the hip on all topics. Other players, the media, all is fair.
Simmons stops for a second and then asks about weed. KD also stops (probably looks at his agent who is in the room, gets a nod) and just says "Yeah." One short follow up, a very measured stigma answer and Simmons moved on. He felt this was still not to be explored into detail. However brief it may be, the answer is in on the record. One of the game's superstars was clear. Let the players smoke weed!
For transparency sake, I had an edible once and didn't fall madly in love with it, not a particular fan of THC. I never realized why are tobacco and alcohol so widely accepted and weed isn't. Out of the three, marijuana is least harmful to your body (and in most cases, society).
More importantly for our discussion, it is not a performance-enhancing drug. From an athletic point of view, it can only be helpful in recovery; the same way magnesium is good for you. It's natural properties help your body. Then why is it still not allowed for consumption in the NBA? KD is right, the stigma.
It is safe to assume most players do consume weed regularly. All North American professional leagues have a very mild testing program compared to the Olympics. We don't know the specifics of the testing policy because the players union and the association agreed that the details remain a secret, but we do know that in the off-season the tester calls the player in advance to arrange a meet. What an iron-clad system.
Marijuana is accepted globally in healthcare, pain management, recovery, and recreational purposes. For a few decades now the NBA has been the best professional sports league (not that the NFL makes it hard to be better than them) and publicly saying something we all already know seems like a no-brainer. Maybe the players should speak out?
In 2001, a competitive rock climber Chris Sharma was disqualified after winning the World Cup because he tested positive. He was outraged this was the reason and retired from competitive climbing. Flat out never competed again. In basketball terms, imagine MJ retiring in '91. That's how good Sharma is. This is the only case of an athlete who is at the top of the game walking away in protest. Competitive climbing isn't as popular, so he didn't leave tens of millions of dollars on the table, but is still a huge sacrifice.
I'm not implying KD should sit out until the league accepts weed, but maybe CP3 and LeBron won't leverage their power in the next CBA negotiations to up the age limit for players to get a max until they are 45 and push a change that benefits all.