Former NBA player Stephen Jackson appeared on Michael Rapaport's podcast "I AM RAPAPORT" and shared some of his best stories involving former Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson and mind-altering substances. First, he described Nelson inviting him and Baron Davis to a bar a couple of days before the start of a season -- presumably 2007-08 -- and the three of them getting "wasted" on Macallan. Jackson had never drank scotch before, and said this created a bond between him and Nelson.
Jackson went on to talk about marijuana -- he loved it, and Nelson didn't exactly discourage it.
"This is crazy, nobody knows this story, so this is the first time somebody is hearing this story," Jackson said. "We're in Utah and the drug test people are around, you know, to get our last drug test, so we can smoke, right? And Don Nelson, we talked about weed all the time, he was cool with talking about weed. We got our last test in Utah, right? So me and Baron are coming out the locker room just screaming, excited, right, with our last pink slip saying we could smoke for the rest of the season. And Don Nelson hauls ass down there giving us high-fives like, 'Yeah, we can smoke now!' It was cool, the fact that he knows what's going on off the court with his players, which was great, man. We enjoyed it. And that's why we were a great team."
Rapaport then asked Jackson how prominent marijuana is in the NBA.
"Listen, man, one thing about basketball, it's no PEDs, no steroids, it's nothing like that," Jackson said. "From my experience in the league, players that I've been around, guys don't even really drink -- some guys do drink, some guys don't smoke. I think it's a higher percentage of guys that smoke than drink. I know coming in, especially in my time, everybody smoked. After games, when I came into the league, there was only one drug test. And that was in the beginning of the season, in training camp. You knew when it was coming. You could smoke the rest of the season. That was the good days.
"A lot of guys do it because that's the best way to relax," he continued. "You take so much stuff to get up for the games, and guys don't like taking all those pills and stuff to heal. Go home, smoke your blunt, man. You'll sleep good."
Without much prompting, Jackson then revealed that he had smoked marijuana before games.
"I can't speak for nobody else," Jackson said. "Me personally, I've done a lot of shit before games sometimes and still was out there to go out there and be productive. I just gotta be real, you know, it's been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games. It's been some games where I smoked before the game and was on the bench after three minutes, sitting on the sideline, saying, 'Please calm down, this high has to calm down.' I done shot three shots that went over the backboard."
Jackson did not advise everyone to do this, however -- he said he had been smoking since he was 12 or 13, so he has a tolerance for it.
Marijuana remains on the NBA's list of prohibited substances in the new collective bargaining agreement. Players can be randomly tested up to four times during the regular season and up to twice during the offseason.