National Basketball Association (NBA) player Kevin Durant is partnering with Weedmaps to destigmatize cannabis with a series of podcasts and video content under his Boardroom media banner, ESPN reports. Durant, a small forward for the Brooklyn Nets, told ESPN that “it’s far past time to address the stigmas around cannabis that still exist in the sports world as well as globally.”
“This partnership is going to help us continue to normalize those conversations, as well as create content, events, and a lot more through our Boardroom media network. This is just the beginning for us.”—Durant to ESPN
Cannabis is banned by the NBA; however, prior to the 2020 season, the league halted its testing program and didn’t relaunch it in the 2020-21 season, according to the report. The NBA still does drug testing and last month suspended Toronto Raptors player Jalen Harris for a year due to violations of the league’s anti-drug policy. The last NBA player to be suspended for cannabis use was Thabo Sefolosha in 2018.
Durant said he hopes that his peers in the league will join him in discussing the benefits of cannabis. He did not comment on his personal use.
Sefolosha, who didn’t play last season after 14 years in the NBA said he is “not one to advertise marijuana and it’s not something I’d encourage my kids to do.” He added that he doesn’t wear his suspension “as a badge of honor.”
“I was fighting internally to change the rules. It’s something that should’ve been dealt with a long time ago. I understand the league doesn’t want to promote it,” he told ESPN. “I don’t want to send the wrong message. But it’s a happy substitute for harder drugs, ones the team doctor might even give you, and alcohol, and I had to learn that on my own.”
Other former NBA players have launched cannabis businesses or invested in the industry after their retirement from the league; however, Durant’s partnership with Weedmaps is the furthest an active player has ventured into the industry.
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