“It’s like I’m in the zone. I feel like nobody could stop me out there. Mellowed me out, got me going and it’s the best thing for me.” — Shaun Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
It’s not exactly human growth hormone, but who’s to say if Mary Jane falls under the category of a performance enhancing drug? With the expanding legalization of marijuana, sports leagues have slowly but surely softened their stances as well. That’s opened the floodgates for former pro athletes to share their experiences detailing how marijuana enhanced their playing careers.
Check out this list of former pro athletes who played under the influence of pot.
Matt Barnes, NBA, Sacramento Kings
By launching a podcast with Stephen Jackson called All the Smoke, it’s not hard to tell that Mr. Barnes knows his way through a bag of California’s Finest. He’s even gone on record admitting that some of his best performances happened while he was “medicated”.
Given his fiery on-the-court personality, the casual NBA fan likely wouldn’t peg Barnes as a stoner. The fact is that he’s actually been burning since the green age of 14. His long-lasting relationship with weed could be what led him to fighting for social equity within the cannabis industry in his current role as Senior Advisor to Eaze’s minority-focused cannabis business incubator.
Percy Harvin, NFL, Seattle Seahawks
Given the high-contact nature of professional football, it’s pretty easy to imagine the league’s best unwinding after a long day with a thick joint twisted tightly to perfection. Although that’s the case for a lot of the league, former Seahawks wide-receiver Percy Harvin actually cited a different reason for his habitual blazing throughout his career. He recently claimed that smoking marijuana before games actually helped quell his anxiety.
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His anxiety reached an apex upon being traded from the Minnesota Vikings to the Seattle Seahawks back in 2013. “There’s not a game I played that I wasn’t high,” he said. It’s not surprising given the fact that many users claim it helps calm their nerves.
Shaun Smith, NFL, Kansas City Chiefs
Unlike Percy Harvin, Shaun Smith, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, maintained his pregame ritual of smoking two blunts before each game because it helped him focus. Smith was such an ardent believer in the bud that he claims it made him feel unstoppable on the field. In an interview with Bleacher Report, he said, “It’s like I’m in the zone. I feel like nobody could stop me out there. Mellowed me out, got me going and it’s the best thing for me.”
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Later on in the interview he attributed weed for helping him manage his pain, before delivering a bombshell. He estimated that up to 80% of players in the league use marijuana, along with other teams and coaching personnel. Considering that, it’s no wonder attitudes around pot are changing so rapidly in what used to be known as the “No Fun League.”
Elijah Dukes, MLB, Washington Nationals
Since MLB is historically the most forgiving of the three major sports leagues when it comes to weed, it’s only natural for its players to take advantage of that fact from time to time. Former outfielder for the Washington Nats admitted to smoking pot before games during his short-lived three year big league career. Posting a rather pedestrian career batting average of .242, it’s hard to decipher what type of impact his usage had on his on-the field performance.
Nonetheless, his time in the bigs came to an abrupt, unceremonious end preceding the start of the 2010 MLB season. Unfortunately since his retirement, he’s made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Some of those headlines include domestic problems resulting in legal consequences.