LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 12: New York Knicks president Phil Jackson watches from the stands as his team plays the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Knicks won 101-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Marijuana is all over the place lately. Literally, in a few cities; just try walking down the 16th Street Mall in Denver on a Saturday afternoon. It’s been legalized for recreational use in six states (Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and Alaska), and is legal for medical usage in many more.

Those six states are home to six NBA teams, and it would be seven if David Stern hadn’t let the Sonics leave Seattle. But marijuana usage remains banned by the league. That’s been a hot-button issue of late, with Warriors coach Steve Kerr delivering an insightful commentary on his own usage while recovering from surgery. He considered it an effective and indeed preferable alternative to prescription painkillers, which the NBA allows.

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke on the subject on the CBS Sports network on Tuesday, and while he didn’t outright advocate for a change to the league’s policy, he did express a pragmatic attitude. Fitting, since he once used it as well, for a similar purpose:

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson appeared on CBS Sports Network’s “We Need to Talk”on Tuesday, and he said that, like Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, he used medicinal marijuana to treat his back pain. Jackson had back surgery when he played for the Knicks, missing the entire 1969-70 championship season because of it.

“[When I was recovering from back surgery], I was smoking marijuana during that period of time,” Jackson said. “I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever. But I never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation … We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA. I don’t think we have been able to stop it. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA. It is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it.”

It’s tough to say what a policy change would look like; presumably it would start with allowing medical exemptions. In any case, it feels like it’s a matter of when, not if.

[CBS Sports]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.