Following the playoff exit, he had surgery, and the effects of it left him “sick as a dog.” Due to a staph infection, his leg had to be “cleaned out” three times over the course of a week. Following another clean-out of his leg in Vail, Colorado, later that summer, Al Harrington was being introduced to cannabinoids (CBDs). Sick of Vicodin and other pain meds he’d ingested over the course of his career, Al Harrington — like his grandmother a year earlier — figured, “Why not?” He gave the black oil pill a shot. It’s a popular CBD that reportedly helps with pain relief and reduces inflammation. “I felt good,” said Al Harrington. “When you’re playing, you obviously can’t jump out there and say you’re doing all that type of stuff. But I’m living proof that you can manage pain without all the pharmaceuticals. You do have an alternative method to take care of yourself. And, to me, [it’s] a more natural way.”
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.
Robinson spoke to The Public about his vision for the multifaceted brand and breaking down the stigmatization of marijuana. “Right now, our business model is kind of fluid due to the fact that [the news of the business] kind of got out a little sooner than we wanted,” Robinson said. “So, we are kind of put in a position where we’re vetting out a lot of different opportunities, whether it be partnering with somebody on a grow, or to partner with someone to bring different products to our business and the consumer.”
“I was able to get to the NBA and play at a high level, and anybody who has achieved goals in their life and [used] cannabis products, I think it would be crazy for anyone to look at them in a negative light, because they are going out and achieving their goals. They are still performing at a high level,” he said.
One can only speculate if any of those marijuana friendly peers joined Robinson on Rodman’s aforementioned “basketball diplomacy” squad that entertained Kim Jong Un in North Korea, although it’s unlikely they indulged while visiting the totalitarian dictatorship. The unique excursion and Rodman’s bizarre behavior were widely reported on in the United States. “Anytime you get to go into a country that people rarely have access to, from a historical standpoint, you have to take advantage of that opportunity. As an athlete, I play basketball. I’ve played basketball for a lot of different people, and I never thought of it as anything other than going to play basketball in North Korea,” he said. As workmanlike as Robinson’s approach was, the weirdness of the trip was not lost on him. “It’s like clockwork over there. I compare it to being in The Matrix.”
Tim MacMahon: I asked Mark Cuban if NBA should even test for weed. He mentioned negative effect on health. Test for desserts, too? RT: Kevin Arnovitz: Sort of tired of athletes being shamed, stigmatized and suspended for an activity that’s now legal in four states, w/ more to come.