NBA's Phil Jackson Admits He Smoked Marijuana To Relieve Back Pain

First Posted: Dec 12, 2016 02:42 AM EST

Phil Jackson opened up about using marijuana to treat his back pain in a recent interview.

Sports Illustrated reported that New York Knicks President Phil Jackson talked about using medical marijuana as a pain reliever after having a back surgery. The former New York Knicks player admitted he smoked marijuana while he had to rest for the whole 1969-1970 season due to his sports injury.

The former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls winning coach made this confession during his interview with CBS Sports Network's We Need to Talk. Since the drug policy was not enforced until 1983, Phil Jackson was able to get away with it, contrary to what NBA players have to go through these days.

"I had back surgery, and the year I was off, I was smoking marijuana during that period of time. I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever," the 71-year-old said in his interview. "But I've never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation."

According to Blasting News, the National Basketball Association requires players and coaches to undergo drug testing. When proven positive, penalties such as marijuana program entry, multi-game suspensions and fines will then be imposed.

Phil Jackson's interview followed Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr's confession about smoking marijuana just to find out if the drug could indeed relieve him from chronic back pain.

"I don't even know if I'm subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA, but I tried it, and it didn't help at all," Kerr admitted, according to "But it was worth it because I'm searching for answers on pain. I've tried painkillers and drugs of other kinds as well, and those have been worse."

Both Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr suggested that since the use of medicinal marijuana has already been legalized in various states, NBA just might want to consider its medical use among players and coaches as well.

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