Any mention of athletes and drugs and everyone automatically thinks steroids. But one substance that may be even more common among jocks than performance enhancing drugs is marijuana. From athletes who played back in the ’60s right through to present day, it’s clear that lots of athletes love THC. Who are some of the greatest pothead athletes of all time? Guys who were known to blaze on the reg but were pretty damn good at their profession, too. So, from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Arnold Schwarzenegger to J.R. Rider and Tim Lincecum, here are the 25 Greatest Stoner Athletes of All Time.
20. J.R. Rider
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1989-2001)
Accolades: 1994 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion, 2001 NBA Champion
Before he flamed out (zing) due to various off-court problems, Rider was a decent NBA player, averaging more than 19 points four times in his truncated career. But it’s no secret that rap sheet was more extensive than his stat sheet back in the day. Most of his run-ins with the law were marijuana-related. He was arrested for possession twice in 1996 then another time in 1998 when police saw him in his car smoking marijuana out of a soda can (SMH, really?). Things got so bad that the league even demanded he seek counseling when he reportedly was seen smoking weed at an Orlando hotel during the 1999-2000 season. Getting high on the court? Dope! Off of it? Not so much.
19. Santonio Holmes
Sport (Years Played): Football (2003-present)
Accolades: Super Bowl XLIII Champion, Super Bowl XLIII MVP
A couple years before Santonio Holmes began helping dismantle dysfunctional teams he led a pretty crazy private life. Stuff like dealing drugs back in his hometown of Bell Glade, Fla., a couple domestic violence charges, and that time he was arrested in October 2008 for marijuana possession. He missed that week’s game but would later help the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII and he received MVP honors. SMH, Rex should’ve had the hydro on deck this season…
18. Jason Williams
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1994-2011)
Accolades: 2006 NBA Champion
Jason Williams was one of the most badass NBA players of his time—white or black. He was banned from the University of Florida in 1998 after failing three drug tests. Once White Chocolate went pro his love of pot didn’t fall off as he was suspended for five games in 2000 after failing to comply with a drug treatment program set up by the NBA. Between his love of weed, unique fashion sense and ridiculously ill passes we’re going say that J-Will was definitely one of our favorite players from the last decade.
17. Rohan Marley
Sport (Years Played): Football (1991-1995)
Accolades: Led the Miami Hurricanes in tackles (95) during the 1993 season.
The fact that Rohan is one of Bob Marley’s sons and that he played sports in college would get him a spot on this list. But dude was actually pretty damn good at the U. While playing alongside future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, Marley led the Hurricanes in tackles in 1993 while playing linebacker. He later went onto play in the CFL. And if there was any question about him living that life? We think his co-sign of the Marijuana Man comic book speaks for itself.
16. Lamar Odom
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1997-present)
Accolades: 2x NBA Champion (2009-2010), 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the year
Years before he became a Kardashian and the Sixth Man of the Year, Lamar Odom had a couple off-the-court scandals. While at UNLV he was caught up in a pay-for-play controversy that led to him transferring to the University of Rhode Island. Then once he made the league he was suspended for violating the NBA’s drug policy twice within eight months–he reportedly tested positive for marijuana. Odom admitted to his use of the drug but says he was just “experimenting.” C’mon, fam don’t come at us with that cliche “experimenting” line. You are the “Candy Man” known for munching on tons of snacks at game time there’s no shame in your game. After all, you married Khloe.
15. Nick Diaz
Sport (Years Played): MMA (2001-present)
Accolades: 26-8; Former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion
If there’s one group of athletes who deserve a pass when it comes to a little recreational toking, it’s gotta be MMA fighters. These dudes are subjected to some of the most brutal indignities in organized sports, and yet they’re not allowed to get high now and again? GTFOH. One of MMA’s respected and rising stars, Diaz tested positive for marijuana this past week and faces a possible suspension and fine—if he comes out of retirement. Here’s hoping Diaz doesn’t stay retired, and that UFC relaxes its drug policy in regards to pot.
14. James Hunt
Sport (Years Played): F1 Racing (1973-1979)
Accolades: 1976 Formula One Champion, 10 Formula One Career wins
Anyone who followed Formula One racing during the 1970s will tell you that James Hunt was that dude. Not because he was the best on the track–though he definitely held his own–but because of his wild personality off of it. In addition to coke and booze, Hunt loved to blaze, saying “I like it, it relaxes me.” Another thing the racer did to unwind was smash just about any hottie in his vicinity. In the weeks leading up to the race that won him the 1976 championship Hunthooked up with 33 British Airways stewardesses. Yup, that’s right. FOH with that “mile-high club” talk, shit isn’t official till you’re smashing stewardesses on the reg. Dozens of ’em.
13. Damon Stoudamire
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1991-2008)
Accolades: 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year
Before we even get to any of Damon’s legal troubles let us just say this: If you put a weed smoker on the Blazers WTF do you expect? Anyway, Stoudamire’s tenure in Portland was marred by several weed-related incidents. There was the time back in 2002 when he and Rasheed Wallace (more on him later) were stopped for speeding and driving under the influence of marijuana. Then, only months later, Damon was arrested for marijuana possession in July 2003 and then suspended for three months by the Blazers. He was later sent to rehab for 90 days and passed all of his subsequent drug tests. #bettyfordstatus
12. Rasheed Wallace
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1993-present)
Accolades: 2004 NBA Champion, 4x NBA All-Star
Famous for holding the NBA single-season record for technical fouls (he committed 41 in 2000-01), ‘Sheed is less well known for being one of the savvier players during his career (flipping the script on the laid back but dumb pothead stereotype). He was a key part of the Blazers teams of the late ’90s and early ’00s, in both good and bad ways: he scored 30 points in Portland’s Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals, but was arrested with fellow Blazer Damon Stoudamire and charged with weed possession in 2002, helping contribute to the Portland squad’s “Jail Blazer” nickname.
11. Mark Stepnoski
Sport (Years Played): Football (1986-2001)
Accolades: 2x Super Bowl Champion (1993 and 1996), 4x Pro Bowl (1992-1996), named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade team
You’ve got some smokers who only feel motivated to hit up their weed man to re-up and then you have others who are really all about the movement. Mark Stepnoski is a member of the latter group. After his football career, which included a couple Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys, Stepnoski has put his focus on advocating the legalization of marijuana. He’s a member of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), Stepnoski’s public support of the group led his alma mater—a Catholic high school—to rescind his nomination for their hall of fame despite Mark’s success on the field. Eh, their loss.
10. Chris Webber
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1991-2008)
Accolades: 1991 Mr. Basketball of Michigan, Fab Five member, 5x NBA All-Star, 1994 Rookie of the Year
From his days of playing with the Fab Five right throughout his 15-year NBA career, Chris Webber was always a pretty intense dude on the court. So, it’s no wonder that homie had to do something to mellow out while off of it. It’d kind of help if that thing were legal though. During a traffic stop in May of 1998, Maryland police found weed on C-Webb, arrested him for driving under the influence of the drug, resisting arrest, and second-degree assault. He was later acquitted of all charges and paid $560 in fines. Just a few months later while coming back from a trip to Puerto Rico to promote FILA, Webber was busted by U.S. Customs who found a weed on the basketball star. As a result Fila dropped their endorsement deal with Webber. Keeping it “gangsta, gangsta” definitely has its downsides, huh?
9. Dock Ellis
Sport (Years Played): Baseball (1968-1979)
Accolades: 1971 All-Star team, 1971 World Series champion, 1976 A.L. Comeback Player of the Year, No-Hitter thrown on 6/12/1970
Dock Ellis is most famous for having thrown a no-hitter while high on LSD, but he was an all-around badass baseball player, who famously did not take shit from anyone (he once intentionally hit three of the first five batters in a game). Ellis’ drug problems eventually took their toll, but after cleaning up he became an addiction counselor, helping other players with their own substance problems.
8. Robert Parish
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1972-1997)
Accolades: 4x NBA Champion (1981, 1984, 1986, 1997), 9x NBA All-Star, Named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history
Parish a.k.a. “Big Chief,” who, along with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale comprised the greatest frontcourt in basketball history, was arrested in 1991 when police intercepted two ounces of pot sent to his home. Parish ended up paying a whopping $37 fine and serving no time. The pot may have helped him be a better player (he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003), but it apparently didn’t chill him out much, at least judging by this horrifying account of abuse from his ex-wife.
7. Warren Sapp
Sport (Years Played): Football (1992-2007)
Accolades: 7x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st team All Pro, 1999 Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl XXXVII champion
Considering that Warren Sapp went to the U in the early ’90s, believing that he tested positive for marijuana and cocaine at the 1995 Draft combine wouldn’t be the craziest sports story we’ve ever heard. Well, when the facts came out it revealed that he did not test positive for cocaine and that the league would not comment on the reported positive marijuana test. His draft stock dropped from an estimated top five to 12th overall, but he still went onto to become one of the league’s best defensive players. Two years after the draft combine scandal Sapp was pulled over and police found 12.7 grams of marijuana in his car. Turns out the weed was in a backpack belonging to one of Sapp’s friends and the judge cleared him of any wrongdoing. That’s what friends are for…*Dionne Warwick voice*
6. Michael Vick
Sport (Years Played): Football (1999-present)
Accolades: 4x Pro Bowler, 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, All-time NFL leading rusher for quarterbacks (4,948 yards)
Way before he became known as a dog killer, Michael Vick was known for more petty crimes like back in January 2007 when he allegedly tried to sneak marijuana through airport security by using a hidden compartment in a water bottle. Tests later revealed that no drugs were in the water bottle and he was never charged, but nine months later Vick test positive for marijuana while the league and legal system were investigating his role in dog fighting. Let this be a lesson: Shit can always get 10x worse than it already is.
5. Tim Lincecum
Sport (Years Played): Baseball (2004-present)
Accolades: 2x NL Cy Young Award winner, 2010 World Series Champion, 4x All-Star
If the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) ever starts a PETA-style celebrity campaign, Tim Lincecum would be a perfect pitchman. He looks like a stoner, talks like a stoner, has a stoner nickname (“The Freak”), and, judging by the misdemeanor pot charge he picked up in November 2009, probably is a stoner. And he’s really, really, really good at what he does. In his first four full seasons in the majors, Lincecum’s logged more than 200 innings each year, and led the National League in strikeouts three times. He’s done it all with a frame many scouts considered too small for a power pitcher, and with an unorthodox delivery that many of those same scouts thought would lead to injury. Think an occasional puff has anything to do with his prowess? You’d have to be a little high to think otherwise.
4. Ricky Williams
Sport (Years Played): Football (1995-2011)
Accolades: 1998 Heisman Trophy, 2002 1st team All Pro, 2002 Pro Bowl MVP, 10,000 Rushing Yards Club member
Football x marijuana = Ricky Williams. Hell, sports x marijuana = Ricky Williams. No other athlete has ever received as much coverage and created as much controversy for their marijuana use as the newly retired NFL running back. Ricky’s love of the ganja led to his first retirement in August of 2004. This decision came as Williams had already reportedly failed three drug tests and was facing a one-year ban from the NFL. While away from the league, he studied holistic medicine at the California College of Ayurveda that fall in Grass Valley, Calif and openly used marijuana saying it was a form of psychotherapy treatment for his social anxiety disorder. His experiences during this retirement are documented in the ESPN 30 for 30 film Run Ricky Run. He was back in the league by July 2005 after having agreed to serve a four-game suspension and give back part of his signing bonus. But by February 2006, the league said Williams had once again violated the NFL’s drug policy. There’s been speculation that it was due to missed—not a failed—test or that a holistic herb triggered a positive test. While suspended from the league for the 2006 season, 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.
3. Randy Moss
Sport (Years Played): Football (1996-2010)
Accolades: 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)
Randy Moss was one of the most entertaining athletes of his era. You could say he was the cool stoner version of T.O. and Chad Ochochinco before those guys were making headlines for their antics. Back in ’96, before reporting to jail to serve a 30-day sentence for a battery conviction, Moss lit up an L and later tested positive for THC during his bid. As a result, his sentence was extended by 60 days, Florida State revoked Moss’ scholarship, and he was subsequently dismissed from the university. Moss had another positive test—administered by the NFL—in 2001 but he passed on the other tests throughout his career despite admitting to using the drug in a 2005 interview with Bryant Gumbel. #getoffme
2. Michael Phelps
Sport (Years Played): Swimming (2002-present)
Accolades: 22 Olympic medals including 18 gold
Ahh, the most infamous bong rip in sports history. After becoming a media sensation by winning a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Phelps was seen as an American hero who could pretty much do no wrong. Well, right until a photo of him using a bong at a University of South Carolina house party was released by the British tabloid News of the World in January 2009. As a result, Phelps received a three-month suspension from USA Swimming and Kellogg’s said they would not renew their endorsement of the Olympian. Of course USA Swimming and sponsors hopped back on Michael Phelps’ jock prior to the 2012 Olympics in London. Phelps is now officially the most decorated Olympian of all time. #getoffme #puffpuffpass
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Sport (Years Played): Basketball (1966-1989)
Accolades: 6x NBA MVP, 6x NBA Champion, 19x NBA All-Star, NBA All-Time Scoring Leader (38,387 points)
Kareem is another pot-smoking athlete who, let’s be frank, looks like a stoner. Not the disheveled, dirty hippie stoner, but the distinguished professorial stoner who smokes to alleviate the nausea from his migraine headaches (this is actually why Abdul-Jabbar says he smokes). The NBA’s all-time leading scorer has been arrested twice on pot charges, in 1998 after getting caught with 6 grams at the Toronto airport, and in 2000 for driving under the influence in L.A. He’s now got a prescription in pot-friendly Cali, so cops, we’ll cue the soundtrack for him.
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