Warning: there may be cheeto dust on my keyboard.
In the 2010-2011 season, the Nuggets got a little less Melo. Carmelo Anthony, that is. Three years back, our last superstar fled the Rocky Mountain state for the comforts of home, and aside from a Mole removal in the interim (hello, Andre Iguodala), we've not had an All-Star wandering the Pepsi Center since. Denver is an amazing town, though I may be biased by my heritage there, but it seems to lack a lot of the glamour/star power/cachet that several of the larger markets hold for today's NBA star. Aside from being homegrown like Chauncey Billups, how does Colorado begin to market itself as an attractive long-term destination for the league's elite?
Enter the dragon. Boggle Dragon, Dragon Berry Cheddar, and Desert Dragon Kush, that is.
The green has hit the streets of Colorado, and after a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth preceding its legalization, the state has somehow NOT slid off the face of the earth into Dante's Seventh Layer, and most everyone has accepted the new normal and moved on to other things to contend with. Recreational pot has landed in Colorado, and has fans and detractors far and wide. And though players are tested for pot during the NBA's regular season, they are not tested during the offseason, as many close to the league say it is highly popular amongst the players. Though I'd debate the "90% of the league" number I find in articles such as these, reports and rumors abound about players affinity for marijuana. Two more notes on that article: Any article on "marijuana.com" may have an inherent bias in its numbers, and there are an inordinate number of current and former Nuggets on its "All Stoner Team", given that they were only filling a few slots. Maybe there's something to this theory.
With recreational legalization having only occurred in two states, and one of those now bereft of an NBA team (sorry, Hank), Colorado has an opportunity to set itself apart from any other NBA home as a destination for players who would like to indulge in offseason sensimilla. As the gambling is to Vegas, so could pot be to Colorado, in that players would have one less worry about that packet that's theoretically not in their glove box.
Three of the big four sports (NBA, NFL and MLB) all monitor players for pot usage, and officially say they will continue to do so. However, both the NFL and NBA have made statements about re-examining their policies around the topic, as reports have many players using the drug as a pain and stress relief source. As for the NHL, players are only banned for performance enhancers, and pot is not a part of their regular testing. It's not hard to imagine the Avalanche pulling down an extra player or two who find the laws of Colorado to be conducive to their own beliefs on the topic.
Would NBA players have a similar attitude if league rules around marijuana use were even further relaxed? And what would that mean to play, injuries and halftime pizza?
Before I wrap this up, I'll shoot out an old Mike Rosen-ism and tell you where I sit since I've told you where I stand. My wife was severely injured over a decade ago in a nasty car wreck, and some of her pain from that is now permanent. When we moved to L.A. six years ago, our primary care doctor mentioned the possible assistance of medical marijuana in alleviating her pain. Though she was nervous to try, it has been an absolute boon to her in helping with pain and sleep, and I have found it to have a very similar effect on occasion. And yes, I have my card. I'm admittedly a believer in its efficacy, and thought I should do the Stiffs the same courtesy my esteemed colleague Jeff Morton did in his heartfelt and exceptional article about Jason Collins and Michael Sam. Pot is a hot-button topic for most any of us, but if we can talk about it anywhere, it's here on Denver Stiffs.
What say you, Nuggets Nation? Are we munchie? Am I high (I'm not, by the by)? Could the Nuggets score a few nuggets and be a more attractive destination? Give me back that bag of Doritos.
And yes, I did set this to publish at 4:20 Mountain Time.