The Los Angeles Lakers’ experience in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble in the summer of 2020 was a successful one, as it ended with an NBA championship.
Along the way, certain players enjoyed smoking cannabis, at least according to J.R. Smith, a member of the Lakers at the time.
— SHOWTIME Basketball (@shobasketball) April 12, 2022
“We was in the chat rooms every night, bro,” said Smith. “… But it was cool. I’m glad it happened because it finally broke that barrier and that stigma that you couldn’t play and all of this, it was a drug, it was this and that. When you go to the bubble basketball, some of the dudes was playing, it was like practice games, kind of situations, so some of them really can’t play that well in front of 30,000. But at this same time, you see some of the best level of basketball, you seen these dudes still doing what they was doing, kicking, killing. … So stop making it seem like it’s alcohol or something. You know you ain’t out there playing drunk just getting 60 like that. That s— ain’t happening no more. But when you can be at peace with your mind, with your body, with your soul and you can go out there and just hoop, that’s all you want.”
Cannabis is legal in California and many other states, but not in Florida.
Smith was an NBA veteran who broke into the league in the 2004-05 season with the New Orleans Hornets. He started to get recognition several years later as a member of the Denver Nuggets while playing with Carmelo Anthony.
In 2009, Smith help Denver reach the Western Conference Finals, where they fought hard but lost to Kobe Bryant’s Lakers in six games.
Six years later, Smith teamed up with LeBron James as members of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and together they brought the city its first NBA championship.
L.A. picked him up just prior to the start of play in the bubble in an attempt to replace Avery Bradley, who opted out of playing due to personal reasons.
The Lakers had powered to a hot start during the 2019-20 season, and when the season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had proven that they were perhaps destined to win it all.
Smith shot poorly during the 2020 playoffs, but he was a contributor to L.A.’s championship team, and he retired shortly afterward.
Lakers fans can surely appreciate that title more in the midst of one of the team’s worst seasons ever this year.