Stephen Jackson told TMZ Sports on Thursday he smoked marijuana throughout the entirety of his NBA career and that he thinks the league should take it off its banned substance list.
“I think they should take it off. Of course,” Jackson said (h/t Yahoo Sports’ Ben Rohrbach). “Why not? … I smoked my whole career. I had a hell of a career—didn’t miss no games.”
Specifically, Jackson said he smoked after games to relax.
“I ain’t going to say it helped,” he said. “But as far as coming down after the games, relaxing, it helped. Before the games, nobody can play high, especially in the NBA. It’s a high level of competition, and guys are great, so nobody can play high, but after the games, guys need to come down and relax, because it’s a physical sport.
“If anybody say they need to be high during the games, they don’t know what the f–k they talking about.”
That account differs from the one Jackson highlighted on Michael Rapaport’s I Am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast last January.
“I just gotta be real, you know, it’s been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games,” Jackson said, via ESPN.com news services. “It’s been some games where I smoked before the game and was on the bench after three minutes sitting on the sideline, ‘Please calm down. This high has to calm down’ — I done shot three shots that went over the backboard, like, I’m going to be honest, like, ‘Ahh, I gotta calm down.'”
Five-time NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups also disclosed on ESPN’s NBA Countdown in December 2016 that he had several former teammates who smoked marijuana before games because it calmed them down.
“I honestly played with players—I’m not going to name names; of course I’m not — I wanted them to smoke,” he said, according to the Washington Post‘s Marissa Payne. “They played better like that. Big-time anxiety, a lot of things can be affected — [marijuana] brought ’em down a bit. It helped them focus in a little bit on the game plan. I needed them to do that. I would rather them do that than, sometimes, drink.”
Key NBA figures past and present, including Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and former commissioner David Stern, have recently advocated for the NBA to revise its marijuana policy and clear it for medical use.
However, the NBA currently has no plans to change its rules.
“While commissioner [Adam] 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 executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said, according to USA Today‘s Jeff Zillgitt.