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.”

Former UCLA guard to play for Warriors' summer league team in Vegas

Former UCLA guard to play for Warriors' summer league team in Vegas

Programming note: Watch Jordan Bell's introductory press conference on Friday at 1pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Now that the NBA Draft is behind us, it's time to look ahead to NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

It's safe to say that Jordan Bell -- the player the Warriors paid $3.5 million for to select at No. 38 overall -- will be suiting up in Sin City.

And one of his teammates will be a guy he competed against in the Pac-12.

Bryce Alford will play for the Warriors in Vegas, he tweeted on Friday morning.

The UCLA product averaged 15.5 points and 2.6 assists per game for the Bruins last season, while shooting 43 percent from deep.

He made 116 3-pointers.

Against Colorado on Jan. 12, he scored 37 points on 9-for-14 from distance.

The Warriors open their summer league slate on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30pm against the 76ers.

They play the Cavs on Monday, July 10 at 5:30pm, and the Timberwolves on Tuesday the 11th at 5:30pm as well.

Then, the tournament begins...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

A behind-the-scenes look at Jordan Bell's NBA Draft party

A behind-the-scenes look at Jordan Bell's NBA Draft party

Programming note: Watch Jordan Bell's introductory press conference on Friday at 1pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

With the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select ... Jordan Bell.

But the Bulls didn't truly make the pick, because the Warriors paid Chicago $3.5 million for the rights to the big man from Oregon.

Bell hosted an NBA Draft watch party on Thursday, and the house was full of family and friends.

The folks at GazettesSports.com chronicled the whole thing in the video below.

Bell handed out gifts -- some of his college jerseys.

[RELATED: Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...']

The guests in attendance erupted (and even made it rain) when deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announced his name.

Bell then told everybody to be quiet, and he explained how Golden State traded for him.

The place went wild.

Bell then danced to E-40's "Tell Me When To Go."

Enjoy...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller