Former NBA, NFL Athletes Estimate Marijuana Use Among Players Is Higher Than 80%

Photo Credit: Jim O'Connor

Former NBA player Kenyon Martin, the No. 1 pick in the 2000 draft, said in an interview with Bleacher Report published Friday that he believes “85% of the league” smoked marijuana during his career.

Former tight end Martellus Bennett thought the number was even higher in the NFL, where injuries and physical pain are more prevalent.

“I want to say about 89% (of the NFL used marijuana),” Bennett told Bleacher Report in a separate interview among former NFL players.

Marijuana is one of the NBA and NFL’s banned substances, with a failed drug test leading to a suspension and fine — even for players in states where marijuana is legal. Former NFL player John Moffitt noted that the league is essentially “looking away” by only testing once a year.

Matt Barnes, another former NBA player who retired after the 2016-17 season, said he smoked pot before games throughout his 14-year career. He also said there was hypocrisy among NBA teams’ top brass when it came to marijuana use.

“The GMs, coaches, presidents (were smoking). I mean, it goes deeper than what you think,” Barnes said. “Some of the people that are cracking whips and suspending us are smoking weed.”

Former NFL defensive lineman Shaun Smith said he used to smoke “two blunts before every game” over the span of his 10 seasons in the league. He echoed Barnes’ point.

“Shoot, coaches do it. Personnel does it, people upstairs do it,” Smith said. “Quarterbacks, guys that are your captains, leaders of the team smoke.

“Everybody has their reason. They do it for their pain.”