When you hear the words athlete and drugs in one single sentence, your mind can be immediately wired to one thing: steroids. But, there is one substance that may be even more common to sports enthusiasts aside from performance enhancers, and it is marijuana. From professional athletes’ decades ago, right until the present era, it is clear that many athletes seek their dosage of THC. Here are some of the most well-known pothead athletes of all time.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
- Sport: Basketball, from 1966 to 1989
- Awards: 6 NBA MVPs, 6 NBA Championships, 19 NBA All-Star Games, NBA All-Time Scoring Leader with 38,337 points.
This accomplished NBA player has his named linked to marijuana quite a few types. According to him, he smokes weed to alleviate nausea that he feels whenever he had migraine headaches. He has been arrested twice on pot charges. First, in 1998, he was caught in possession of 6 grams at the Toronto airport. Second, he was caught driving under the influence in Los Angeles back in 2000. At present, he now has a prescription for medical cannabis, so he need not worry about cops.
- Sport: Swimming, from 2002 until the present
- Awards: 22 Olympic medals, where 18 were gold
If we would talk about the most famous bong rips in sports history, Michael Phelps gets the trophy. After he gained fame by winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Michael Phelps was seen as the perfect American hero. But, that changed when a photo of him using a bong at a house party in the University of South Carolina was released. It was published by the British newspaper News of the World in January 2009.
Because of this, Phelps received a three-month suspension from the USA Swimming team, and Kellogg’s decided not to renew Phelps’ endorsement deal. Of course, at present, Michael Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian of all time. And, regardless of the drama, sponsors have hopped back on in support of this star swimmer.
- Sport: Football, from 1996 to 2010
- Awards: 1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro Bowler, Record for most TDs in a season (23), Fifth on the All-Time TD list (154) and All-Time Receiving Yards list (14,858)
Football fans and sports experts agree that Randy Moss is one of the most entertaining athletes of his time. Back in 1996, before reporting to jail to serve a 30-day sentence for a battery charge, Randy Moss lit up an L and later positive for THC during his bid. As a result, his sentence was even extended by 60 days. Also, Florida State canceled his scholarship, and he was later on dismissed from the university.
Randy Moss also suffered another positive test, as administered by the NFL, in 2001, but he passed on the other tests throughout his career even when he admits to using drugs in a 2005 interview with Bryant Gumbel.
- Sport: Bodybuilding, from 1968 to 1980
- Awards: 1968 Mr. Universe, 7x Mr. Olympia (1970-1975, 1980)
This man, who has achieved so much in different fields, think actor slash bodybuilder slash governor, has also been credited for being one of the most influential people in the cannabis legalization movement. Aside from smoking weed back in his younger days, Arnold has changed the whole game, when as governor of California; he has reduced the charges for cannabis possession of an ounce or less to an infraction instead of a misdemeanor. Instead of being in jail, they only face a fine of 100 dollars without any permanent criminal record.
- Sport: Football, from 1995 to 2011
- Awards: 1998 Heisman Trophy, 2002 1st team All-Pro, 2002 Pro Bowl MVP, 10,000 Rushing Yards Club member
There is no other athlete who has received more media coverage and people’s attention than Football and marijuana. Ricky’s love for smoking cannabis has led to his first retirement during August 2004. This decision happened when Williams has failed three drug tests and was facing a one-year ban from the NFL. During his suspension, he studied holistic medicine at the California College of Ayurveda.
By then, Williams was openly using cannabis as he was using it as a psychotherapy treatment for his social anxiety. Williams came back to the league in July 2005 after serving a four-game suspension and giving back a part of his signing bonus.
By February 2006, Williams has been found to have violated the NFL’s drug policy again. While suspended from the league, Ricky kept his skills up by playing in the CFL in 2006 and by May of 2007 he was back in the NFL again where he would remain for the next few years playing for the Dolphins and later the Ravens.
- Sport: Baseball from 2004 to present
- Awards: 2x NL Cy Young Award winner, 2010 World Series Champion, 4x All-Star
Tim Lincecum was indicted with a misdemeanor pot charge during November 2009. But, he is really good at playing the sport. In his first four seasons in the major leagues, he has logged more than 200 innings each year and has led the National League in strikeouts three times. He’s done it despite having a frame most experts have deemed too small for a power pitcher, and with an unconventional delivery that many of those same scouts thought would direct to injury.
- Sport: Football from 1999 to present
- Awards: 4x Pro Bowler, 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, All-time NFL leading rusher for quarterbacks (4,948 yards)
Way before he has gained fame for being a dog killer, Michael Vick was known for his petty crimes like back in January 2007 when he allegedly tried to sneak cannabis through airport security using a hidden compartment in a water bottle. Tests have later revealed that no drugs were in the water bottle and he was never charged. But nine months after, Vick tested positive for marijuana while the league and legal system were investigating his role in dogfighting.
- Sport: Snowboarding from 1991 to 2000
- Awards: 1998 Olympic Gold Medalist
We already know how common performance-enhancing drugs are among Olympic athletes and that testing positive for the results in shame, and ultimately having their medals stripped. But what about recreational drugs like cannabis? Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati experienced this at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano when he was stripped of his gold medal after he tested positive for THC. But a short time later, his precious gold was returned with the reasoning that pot was not on the list of banned substances.
- Sport: Baseball from 1968 to 1979
- Awards: 1971 All-Star team, 1971 World Series champion, 1976 AL Comeback Player of the Year, No-Hitter thrown on 6/12/1970
Dock Ellis is most well-known for having thrown a no-hitter while high on LSD, but he was an all-around badass baseball player, who is also a famous dirty player. He has once intentionally hit three of the first five batters in a game. Later on, Ellis’ drug problems took their toll, but after sobering up he matured as an addiction counselor, helping other players with their own substance difficulties.
- Sport: Basketball from 1991 to 2008
- Awards: 1991 Mr. Basketball of Michigan, Fab Five member, 5x NBA All-Star, 1994 Rookie of the Year
Throughout his NBA playing journey, Chris Webber was always a notable intense guy on the court. So, it’s no surprise that he had to do something to mellow out while off of it. When he was in Maryland in May of 1998, policemen found marijuana on Webber, detained him for a DUI, resisting arrest, and second-degree assault. He was then acquitted of all the charges and spent $560 in fines. Just a few months later fresh from a trip to promote FILA, Webber was busted by US Customs who found weed his person. Because of this, Fila dropped their endorsement deal with the basketball star.