Kevin Durant decided to smoke weed just before pushing for the NBA to lift its ban on the recreational drug.
“I actually called [the commissioner] and advocated for him to take marijuana off the banned substance list,” Durant, 34, said during CNBC x Boardroom’s Game Plan Summit on Tuesday, July 25. “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.”
In fact, before meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in person, Durant took a puff of cannabis.
“Well, he smelled it when I walked in, so I ain’t really have to say much,” Durant recalled. “He kind of understood where this was going.”
He argued: “I mean, it’s the NBA, man. Everybody does it, to be honest. It’s like wine at this point.”
Durant explained that following their conversation, Silver, 61, “agreed” to lift the ban. The decision is part of the seven-year collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the players union that went into effect on July 1.
The NBA began to loosen its reigns on marijuana use for players in 2021, ending random testing for weed and turning its attention to performance-enhancing drugs, according to USA Today. Tests for drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, which fall into the category of “drugs of abuse,” are also conducted among the athletes.
In years prior, players who violated the NBA’s marijuana policy were punished financially and professionally. Upon their first violation, the athlete had to enter the league’s treatment and counseling program. If they tested positive for the drug a second time, they faced a $25,000 fine. On the third offense, players received a five-game suspension without pay.
Durant, meanwhile, has been vocal about destigmatizing the use of marijuana for years. In 2021, he became an investor in WeedMaps, which is an e-commerce platform that brings buyers and dispensaries together.
“I think it’s far past time to address the stigmas around cannabis that still exist in the sports world as well as globally,” Durant told ESPN in August 2021. “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.”