Kevin Durant Personally Lobbied the NBA to Stop Drug Testing Players for THC
Durant said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could smell the weed on him while they were discussing the league's pot testing policy.
Published on July 31, 2023

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Basketball star Kevin Durant is taking credit for inspiring the NBA to finally allow players to smoke as much weed as they want. 

At a recent CNBC conference, Durant said that he personally lobbied NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to revise the league's antiquated cannabis ban. The two-time MVP said that Silver probably could guess what Durant wanted to talk about, as he was heavily perfumed with the dank aroma of weed smoke.

"Well, he smelled it when I walked in," Durant told CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, according to CBS Sports. "So I didn't really have to say much, you know what I'm saying? He kind of understood where this was going...It's the NBA, man... everybody does it, to be honest. It's like wine at this point."

Durant didn't let the matter drop after that first meeting, either. “I actually called him and advocated for him to take marijuana off the banned substance list,” he said. “I just felt like it was becoming a thing around the country, around the world, that the stigma behind it wasn’t as negative as it was before.” 

The 15-season player's lobbying apparently paid off. This spring, the NBA agreed to completely remove cannabis from its list of prohibited substances in a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Players Association. Now that the agreement is in effect, the NBA can no longer test players for THC, nor can it punish players for getting high off the court. The agreement will even allow players to passively invest in legal cannabis companies.

The NBA had already been gradually phasing out its cannabis testing policies over the past few years. The league first temporarily suspended THC testing for players during the pandemic in 2020, and then decided to suspend testing again for the 2021-22 season. The new collective bargaining agreement makes that temporary policy official, and it will remain in full effect until 2030.

Durant's comments should come as no surprise, as he has actively advocated for weed both on and off the court. "I just enjoy the plant," Durant told Sorkin at the conference, according to CBS Sports. "It's as simple as that."

The MVP has also invested heavily in the legal cannabis industry. In 2019, Durant joined the advisory board of an investment firm linked to Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth. The following year, he partnered with Snoop Dogg to help raise $35 million in funding for a cannabis e-commerce company in Oregon. And in 2021, Durant partnered with Weedmaps for a new sponsorship deal that he hopes will help further destigmatize cannabis use among athletes.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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