Cannabis in sports has always been, and possibly will forever be, a controversial subject. The late NBA legend and former Portland Trail Blazers forward Cliff Robinson was well aware of it, and that’s why he spent the majority of his retirement trying to change the misconception about his favorite recreational activity.
Almost all NBA fans know that it has been there for decades, but not all players are brave enough to come out and say they smoke weed. Robinson was never one of them as he openly said he smoked cannabis prior, during, and after his NBA career. He received three suspensions in the process, but none of that changed “Uncle Cliffy” and his love for the sticky-icky green.
Robinson was a one-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-Defensive team member, and a Sixth Man of the Year. However, the other remarkable accomplishment in his resume was that he was one of the few players who lasted in the most competitive basketball league in the world until the age of 40.
According to Robinson, never once did cannabis hinder his form and game in any way.
“I want to knock down the myth that athletes and cannabis don’t mix,” Robinson said in 2017 via Oregon Live. “I played 18 years in the NBA and I used cannabis on and off along the way and I didn’t have a problem.”
An advocate and entrepreneur
Robinson called it quits in 2007. Since then, “Uncle Cliffy” dedicated his life to advocating the benefits of cannabis. He also took the opportunity to make a little bit of money by starting a cannabis business venture he named "Uncle Spliffy."
"It's an opportunity for me to get out there and tell people a little bit about myself outside of basketball," Robinson said of his marijuana business in 2016, via Business Journal. "People in Oregon know me as a basketball player, but I want to distill the stigma around cannabis, the misperception that athletes and cannabis are incompatible."
He added, "Cannabis is definitely a more positive alternative to pharmaceuticals at the end of the day. Those are synthetics. I'm talking about something that's natural that can bring the outcomes you're looking for, be it for muscle tension or relaxation or preparedness."
In 2020, Robinson finally succumbed to lymphoma after battling the disease for one year. But make no mistake, until his final breath; “Uncle Cliffy” was convinced cannabis had nothing to do with his condition. If anything, he used it to help him.