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Jay Williams: 75%-80% of NBA players use marijuana

17th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 27: ESPN analyst, former NBA player and pageant judge Jay Williams appears before the 17th annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Former Bulls point guard Jay Williams has talked openly about the depression he fell into after a motorcycle crash ended his NBA career. That includes discussing the drugs he took to cope.

Now, he’s speaking on behalf of NBA players who might also be facing issues that could prompt drug use.

Williams, via Jade Scipioni of FoxBusiness:

“It’s easy for doctors to prescribe you Oxycontin and look I was addicted to it for five plus years so I know,” Williams tells “But when you say marijuana you get a reaction, ahhh, it’s a gateway drug.”

Williams estimates that 75 to 80 percent of athletes use marijuana in the NBA.

“I know so many athletes that play on Percocet. Have you ever taken Percocet by the way? It makes you way more groggy than rubbing cannabis oil into your skin,” adds Williams. “It’s demonized in society too. Oh, he’s a pot head. No, I actually just use cannabis oil because it helps with inflammation and takes away some anxiety.”

“I’m not condoning for anyone under 18 to use cannabis or marijuana, but from a medical perspective, it’s about time some of these brands like the NBA and MLB become a little bit more progressive and start thinking forward instead of being held captive in the past.”

Williams is not the first former player to speak on this issue. Cliff Robinson and Larry Sanders have advocated for responsible marijuana use. Even a current player, Blake Griffin, has said the NBA should allow medical marijuana.

The tide is turning on weed, and the NBA should catch up. It’s not a performance-enhancing drug, and it’s increasingly legal – and more so, accepted – across the country. The league shouldn’t test for it.

Really, the test’s purpose is less to dissuade marijuana use, but more to detect which players are smart enough not to get caught. That’s not a reasonable burden to put on the players, who are punished with suspensions, fines and public shaming from the shrinking corners of the population who view marijuana as evil.

The NBA should take Williams’ advice and change its marijuana policy. In the meantime, players should listen to Mitch McGary, whose failed drug test at Michigan forced him into the NBA draft: “Don’t get caught.”