Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

There were days and nights when he was in agony, when no medication – and he tried many – could stop the headaches from corroding his mere existence.

So Steve Kerr tried something once considered radical.

The Warriors coach sought relief in weed.

“I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I’ve been going through this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast.

“(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA.”

During the summer of 2015, Kerr underwent two surgeries on his back, the latter procedure in part to alleviate the pain from the first. Still, the pain continued. He arrived at training camp to coach the defending champions and two days later realized he was not up to the grind.

Kerr, now 51, took a leave of absence that lasted nearly four months, during which time he sought comfort through various painkillers and treatments.

He returned to coaching in January 2016, but it was during his absence from the team that he reached the same conclusion as many medical professionals.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr said. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

Vicodin (hydrocodone) and other pain relievers come with side effects – including nausea, vomiting, constipation and blurred vision – that can be even more damaging to the body. Moreover, painkillers invite the risk of addiction that, for some, can lead directly to death.

“I know enough, especially over the last couple years, having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff – Vicodin is not good for you,” said Kerr, who still has experiences discomfort. “It’s way worse for you than pot, especially if you’re looking for a painkiller and you’re talking about medicinal marijuana, the different strains what they’re able to do with it as a pain reliever.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before the NBA and NFL and Major League Baseball realize that.”

Marijuana has been legalized in some form by 26 states and the District of Columbia. It has been used to treat patients suffering from chronic or acute pain. Yet it remains stigmatized in certain segments of American society.

“There’s this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine, but pot is bad,” Kerr said, explaining that some folks continue to resist the notion that pot is somehow more treacherous than, say, alcohol, while others have studied the subject and become advocates.

“I would hope,” Kerr said, “especially for these NFL guys, who are basically involved in a car wreck every Sunday – and maybe four days later, the following Thursday, which is another insane thing the NFL does – I would hope that league will come to its senses and institute a different sort of program where they can help these guys get healthier rather than getting hooked on these painkillers.”

Steph Curry says he's 'definitely' better now than unanimous MVP season

Steph Curry says he's 'definitely' better now than unanimous MVP season

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 p.m. PT, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Is Steph Curry better now than he was during the 2015-16 season?

Let's compare his numbers pre All-Star break:

-2015-16 = 29.8 points, 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 50.8 percent overall, 45.4 percent from 3-point range (10.8 attempts per game).
-2018-19 = 28.6 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 48.8 percent overall, 44.4 percent from 3-point range (11.5 attempts per game).

The statistics would say he was better during his unanimous MVP campaign. But Curry disagrees with the analytics.

“I definitely feel like I’m better than I was three years ago,” the soon-to-be 31-year old said Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “It’s a good feeling knowing successes I’ve had personally don’t get in the way of progress with the team, getting better and finding ways to expand your game.

"Experience, more maturity and being challenged in new ways definitely helps.”

Three years ago, Curry and the Warriors had a huge chip on their shoulder as many in the basketball world diminished their championship the season prior. They were in "prove all the haters wrong" mode. That squad treated every regular season contest like an NBA Finals game.

While the ultimate goal of winning a championship remains the same, the mindset and approach to the process is very different today.

Curry now shares the floor on a nightly basis with Kevin Durant and he doesn't have to carry the team night in and night out. His numbers aren't as gaudy as some of his peers. As a result, he isn't an MVP frontrunner.

[RELATEDBarack Obama takes playful jab at Steph Curry over past ankle problems]

“Everybody can come up with certain narratives,” he told Yahoo Sports in reference to the MVP award. “It’s clear who the best guys in the league are, who’s helping the team win.

"Comparing numbers and styles … beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know why I can’t (win again), but I feel confident in knowing what type of player I am. I’m sure KD would say the same thing.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors chime in on De'Aaron Fox's anti-In-N-Out Burger debate


Warriors chime in on De'Aaron Fox's anti-In-N-Out Burger debate

I am not here for any In-N-Out Burger slander on my timeline. And apparently, Jordan Bell isn't either. 

Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox has sparked quite the debate. After calling In-N-Out "trash," Bell was having none of it and needed answers from the Warriors. 

So, are the champs Team Whataburger or Team In-N-Out? Warning: NSFW 

Did DeMarcus Cousins say In-N-Out is "Hall of Fame?" Yeah, I've always been a fan of Boogie. 

[RELATED: Kings' rise to playoff contention should resonate with true Warriors fans]

But Five Guys? Shake Shack? Nah, I'm sticking with what I always made my first purchase whenever I flew home from college. 

Here's to Team In-N-Out.