The NBA reaffirmed its position as America’s most progressive sports league when commissioner Adam Silver indicated that the league was open to the idea of its players using medical marijuana. The science is in on the litany of benefits that marijuana has to offer, and with the opioid epidemic wreaking havoc on the country, the league would be foolish to continue its prohibition of marijuana, especially as the tide of legalization for recreational use continues to gain momentum.
The NFL, and all other leagues, would do well to take a page out of the NBA’s book (several, rather) when it comes to social issues; not just marijuana. Part of the reason the NBA — and there are many reasons — is relatively progressive is that the average NBA viewer is 42 years old, compared to 49 for the NHL, 50 for the NFL, and 57 for MLB.
It’s not fair to lump groups of people into categories, but younger people tend to be more progressive than older people and the NBA understands who their audience is. With the stigma against weed abating by the year as more and more states legalize, the argument for continued prohibition becomes less and less tenable.
Klay Thompson, one half of the Splash Brothers, got popped for smoking weed a few months before being drafted and was suspended for his final regular season game at Washington State University. And look how things have turned out for him; after six seasons in the NBA, he’s a 3-time All-Star, 2-time NBA Champion, and Olympic gold medalist. Oh, and he also owns the all-time record for most points ever scored in a quarter with 37:
Pretty terrible, right?
Klay is proof positive that smoking marijuana and being a world-class athlete are not mutually exclusive, and Adam Silver is absolutely correct in saying the league should consider legalizing medical marijuana.