John Salley RumorsAll NBA Players
The Pistons’ move to Auburn Hills in 1989 helped usher in the modern age of the league. Detroit had already left the city, moving to the Silverdome to play in 1978, and set Finals records for attendance in 1988 against the Los Angeles Lakers. But the Palace was something different altogether. It was designed for, and patronized by, the wealthy of Oakland County and the nearby environs, not guys like “Leon the Barber,” the famed heckler back in the day at Cobo Arena (though Leon did sit behind opposing benches at the Palace for a while). Or, as John Salley, one of the Bad Boys Pistons, famously put it: “we used to play in front of the auto workers. Now we play in front of the auto executives.” But it remained one of the league’s loudest buildings, and home-court advantages, for many years.
Since then — and like Harrington, Clifford Robinson and NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson — Salley (as he has embraced veganism) has embraced what marijuana can do for the body. The only man to play with Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and O’Neal and Bryant has a phrase he leans on: The business to be in is the business of the future. He’s a shareholder, along with Snoop Dogg, in the Canadian cannabis company Tweed. Business appears to be booming north of the border, too. Canopy Growth Corp, Tweed’s parent company, saw its market value skyrocket 17 percent after announcing it would be selling three varieties of marijuana under the Leafs by Snoop brand. Shares rose 84 percent, giving the company its third consecutive year with a positive gain.
In the first week of the 1999–2000 season, I stopped him coming off the floor during a timeout and asked him: “What do you think was Wilt’s greatest accomplishment?” He quickly and confidently replied: “Averaging 50 points and 30 rebounds a game.” I shook my head. “Nope, he averaged over 48 minutes a game. Do you think you could do that?” Walking out of the timeout huddle, he looked back at me. “He could do it. So can I.” So I played him 48 minutes a game until he called uncle, which wasn’t that many games into November. But he didn’t want to come to my office to tell me, so he sent John Salley as his spokesperson. I was glad to comply, as I didn’t expect this experiment to last the whole year. That wasn’t the point. We never spoke another word about it. It did, however, get him in great condition. By season’s end, he was the MVP.
Crawford: John Salley might have been one of the best. He was at the All-Star Game. I think he was a union rep. I have my three daughters with me. We’re sitting there with the kids—me and my wife and John—we were talking, laughing. He was telling me the ugliest guys in the league, and he mentions Tyrone Hill. We get back after the All-Star break. He’s with Detroit, and I call a loose-ball foul on him. So John says to me, “You call another one of those fouls on me, I’m giving Tyrone Hill your daughter’s phone numbers.” As I’m giving the [call to the official scorekeeper], I’m laughing. I had tears coming to my eyes.