Karl-Anthony Towns: The NBA Should Let Players Use Medical Marijuana

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Though he says he’s never tried marijuana, Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns wants the NBA to give players the green light to spark up.

“I agree with David Stern with marijuana,” Towns told ESPN, referring to an interview in which the former NBA commissioner advocated for the league’s lifting of its ban on weed. “You don’t have to actually make it ‘Mary J’ [or] ‘Half Baked.’ You don’t have to do it like that, but you could use the [chemical] properties in it to make a lot of people better. That’s something that Adam Silver has to do, that’s out of my control, but maybe legalizing marijuana. Not fully legal where people are chimneys but using [marijuana] as a beneficial factor as an athlete, as a person living daily. I think a lot of times fans forget that sometimes there may be some things that are banned that may not be the greatest for playing basketball, but for everyday living off the court, sometimes those things that are legal could help us.”

College basketball analyst and former NBA player Jay Williams has also advocated for medical marijuana as a safe alternative to addictive painkillers. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he’d tried to use weed to treat back pain, and although it didn’t work out for him, he noted that pro sports leagues should allow it to help players recover without the likes of Vicodin. The NFL has even more advocates for the benefits of medical marijuana.

Towns added that he’s never gotten high, but has no problem with his basketball buds blazing the other kind of buds.

“I’ve never smoked, I’ve never taken a strand, I’ve never taken properties of it, whatever the case may be,” Towns added. “But I deal with kids all the time at autistic schools, Reed Academy in New Jersey. My girlfriend has an autistic nephew, and you realize those properties of marijuana can do a lot of good for kids and for adults. These guys, just because we’re NBA athletes, we’re not super humans. Some of us have conditions that could use [medical marijuana] to our benefit for everyday living, just taking care of our kids and our families.”

Towns also has confidence that commissioner Adam Silver will be able to look past the perceptions associated with the drug to focus on improving the quality of life for the league’s players with medical marijuana.

“We have such a great commissioner in Adam Silver who’s willing to listen to opinions and talk to us about how he feels as well. I think David Stern obviously made an intellectual statement from his experience and just seeing things from a different perspective.

“The NBA has done a great job of just really cracking down on things that should not be legal. Not only legal as a performance enhancing, or whatever case it may be, but just for daily living to have a better life, a more sustainable life, a more healthy life by removing those drugs from the game.”

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