Former NBA all-star Charles Barkley recently made headlines for criticizing Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys running back who got in trouble last week for visiting a legal marijuana dispensary in Seattle. Now another retired basketball player is coming to Elliott's defence. John Salley - the former three-time NBA champion and current cannabis advocate - doesn't think that the NFL rookie did anything wrong. Instead, he criticized the media for subjecting athletes to undo scrutiny.
"That's the problem with this world. That's the problem with professional sports," Salley said when approached on the street by cameramen for TMZ. "They [the media] don't follow lawyers, they don't follow plumbers, they don't follow doctors."
He also laid some of the blame on professional sports leagues that ban cannabis.
"I am a proponent and I believe in the advocacy of medical marijuana....We need to get it out. We need to move it and realize that it is something that can help the human body."
He added that it's in the best interest of the NBA, NFL and other leagues to change their drug policies since they could get more from players if athletes were allowed to treat injuries with cannabis. One of his few regrets about his career is that he quit smoking pot when he turned pro. "I believe if I had smoked while I was playing, I would still be playing now," the 52 year old Salley said.
That led the TMZ reporter to wonder if Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas or any other members of the 90s Detroit Pistons - known then as the NBA's Bad Boys - dabbled with cannabis during their heyday.
"We didn't smoke anything. We won championships," Salley said. But then he added with a grin, "And if they did, then whatever they did was right."
Check out the full interview here.
Banner Image: Former NBA basketball player John Salley arrives at 2012's Annual Night Of 100 Stars event held at The Beverly Hills Hotel in California. (August Fairchild / Shutterstock.com)