Cannabis culture in sports has an old-school stigma. You’ll hear vague talk of scientific research here, news of a failed drug test or arrest there. But, to be blunt, real talk is hard to come by.
So here’s a reality check: Professional athletes smoke weed. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of them do, according to new player estimates. Some even smoke before games.
“All of my best games, I was medicated,” says Matt Barnes, who won the NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors last year and spent 14 seasons in the NBA. “It wasn’t every single game but, in 15 years, it was a lot.”
“I smoked two blunts before every game,” says former Dallas Cowboy Shaun Smith, who played nine seasons in the NFL.
With marijuana now legalized for recreational use in nine states and counting, plus 29 states for medicinal purposes, the American conversation is changing rapidly. Cannabis remains a banned substance in the NBA, NFL and MLB, but athletes are increasingly speaking out, advocating for its legalization in the major professional leagues.
Enter B/R x 4/20, a project that pulls back the curtain by letting “closet smokers” tell their stories in public. A dozen former NBA and NFL players told Bleacher Report—on the record, on camera—that they support cannabis in pro sports. Eight did so while smoking