The 2017 NBA draft took place almost two months ago, but thanks to the long offseason and our 24/365 obsession with all things sports, stories are still breaking, even months before any of the new rookies play their first regular season game. To get a deeper look into the pre-draft process and how teams select their players, Hoops Hype asked current and former players what they were asked in their team interviews, and found some surprisingly specific cannabis questions.
Among questions like “If you were the size of a pencil and stuck in a blender, how would you get out?” and “Why is a manhole cover round?” were a few questions about players’ substance use and moral fiber, including “What is your favorite strain of weed?”
Four of the players who talked to Hoops Hype about the draft process said they were asked some variant of the strain selection question, with one player adding that they were simply asked “What kind of pot do you like?” Additionally, one player said that team officials wanted to know, “Do you prefer to smoke with a bong or a joint?”
While we all know that cannabis use in the NBA is prevalent, bud is still on the league’s banned substance list, with positive drug tests leading to fines, drug classes and eventual suspension for repeat offenders. So why are teams trying to find out if Lonzo Ball likes the citrusy sativa Sour Tangie better than the heavy indica vibes of Sunset Sherbert? According to one former front office executive, the teams already know the prospects’ habits, and are using the outlandish inquiries to test their honesty and quick thinking.
Amin Elhasssan, former Phoenix Suns Assistant Director of Basketball Operations and current on-air jack-of-all-trades at ESPN, went on Twitter shortly after the article was published to set the record straight about what teams are really looking for when they ask about reefer.
But if we KNOW you smoke like Wiz Khalifa & answer weed question w/ "the devil's lettuce?!" followed by pearl clutch, we know you full of it— Chillin in my Bacta (@AminESPN) August 13, 2017
“The amount of background work into researching draft prospects is extensive. We know who the weed smokers are, the drinkers, the partiers etc.” Elhassan wrote. “Now, a guy may have changed. "I used to go out a lot but then I realized I needed to be serious for next level" is a common refrain. But if we know you smoke like Wiz Khalifa and answer weed question with ‘the devil's lettuce?!’ followed by pearl clutch, we know you’re full of it. And ultimately, being a guy who's full of it is way worse than a guy who goes out (within reason of course).”
So while teams aren’t really looking for players like Stephen Jackson to come all the way clean and debate the differences between terpene profiles in sun-grown and greenhouse grass, they aren’t looking for liars, either. After all, if NBA teams had a zero tolerance policy for lifetime cannabis use, we’d most likely be watching Division III college rejects play ball at Madison Square Garden.