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.”

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Festus Ezeli will not be back with the Blazers next season, Portland GM Neil Olshey said on Tuesday.

Last summer -- after the Warriors let Ezeli walk in free agency following the addition of Kevin Durant -- he signed a 2-year contract worth just over $15 million.

But Year 2 was essentially a club option with a $1 million buyout.

A knee injury prevented Ezeli from ever suiting up for the Blazers this season.

He underwent cadaver ligament replacement surgery in early March.

The Warriors drafted Ezeli 30th overall in 2012.

Over 46 games (13 starts) with Golden State in 2015-16, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over 16.7 minutes per contest.

Stephen Jackson: Draymond Green 'is a new version of me'

Stephen Jackson: Draymond Green 'is a new version of me'

In the Warriors' sweep of the Blazers, Draymond Green was fantastic.

He averaged 13.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 4.3 blocks and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 55 percent from deep.

On Tuesday morning, former Warriors forward Stephen Jackson was asked about the two-time runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year.

"I don't want to change him at all. That chip on his shoulder, the way he plays, as Steve Kerr will tell you -- every team needs a guy like that," Jackson said on KNBR 680. "I was that guy in San Antonio. I was that guy on a lot of teams.

"You need a guy like that to even it out. You don't want your team to be a pushover. And sometimes, his emotion might hurt the team. But you can live with that, because you got a guy going to bat for all your guys.

"He's one of the best all-around players in the league -- Top 5 -- and you need a guy like that. He makes that team better.

"He's one of those guys that puts his body on the line for a team, passes up a shot to make a pass, guard the best player and not worry about scoring -- that's my type of guy."

When the "We Believe" Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks in 2007, Jackson averaged 22.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals, while shooting over 47 percent from 3-point territory in that series.

"I say Draymond is a new version of me -- just way more athletic," Jackson added. "And I love it. I wore his jersey last year to The Finals, and I plan on wearing it again."