The cannabis industry continues to attract celebrities in a big way, including former and current NBA players. One of the biggest recent moves came from former Seattle Supersonics star Shawn Kemp, who opened a second dispensary in Seattle.
Kemp, a six-time All-Star who played the majority of his career in Seattle, recently opened a new Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis store in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle. He already has a location in Belltown.
“We really went big on this location and I can’t wait for fans to check it out,” Kemp told NBC affiliate King 5 in Seattle.
Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis in Former Bank Building
The new, 3,500-square-foot location is in a former bank building. It will feature more than 3,000 unique items. It also has a massive mural of Kemp, his former Supersonics teammate Gary Payton, actor, martial arts legend Bruce Lee and legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
A native of San Francisco, Lee moved to Seattle in 1959 to attend the University of Washington. He also opened two martial arts studios there. Hendrix was born in Seattle. Kemp co-owns the dispensary with business partner and General Manager Tran Du.
Kemp, 53, is a native of Indiana. The Supersonics drafted Kemp in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft, making him the youngest player in the NBA at that time (19 years old). In the 1995-1996 season, Kemp was a key player on the Supersonics team that reached the NBA Finals.
Other NBA Stars Join Cannabis Business
Current and former NBA players have been some of the most vocal people in all of sports about the need to legalize cannabis. They spoke especially about the ability of cannabis to help with pain management.
Former NBA player and cannabis entrepreneur Al Harrington took the NBA to task several years ago, saying the association’s prohibition against marijuana was tantamount to policing players like they were kids. No one in the NBA wants to get high while playing, he said.
“If I’m going to play against Kevin Durant tonight, why would I get as high as I can and come to the game and play Kevin Durant high?” he said at the time.
Not long after Harrington and other former players and coaches – including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr – talked about the need for changes in the NBA policy, the association decided to stop testing players for marijuana use as part of its required drug testing.
The NBA continued that policy for the third straight year this season.
In the meantime, former NBA players have become some of the highest profile celebrities to enter the cannabis industry. They include Chris Webber, who has launched a cannabis brand and the Webber Wellness Compound in Detroit. Current player Kevin Durant is one of the few players in any sport to take an active stance as an advocate for marijuana legalization.