N.Y. Knick Zen Master Phil Jackson Says NBA Needs to 'Deal With' Pot Culture

Is there a strain for staying calm, collected, and zen?

Keeping a clear head isn’t always easy. The stress of the day-to-day on its own, let alone the pains of being a professional athlete, is enough to drive a human mad. We all have our own way of letting go, or connecting with our inner selves. For some weary souls, cigarette under the sun can turn around a slow morning. For others, when frazzled feelings invade the cabeza, a long drive is the ticket out. But according to New York Knicks franchise president Phil Jackson, practicing meditation is the key to restoring mindfulness. Jackson leads the team’s mindfulness sessions, a tradition he began as head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1993.

From the New York Times:

“The Knicks have held this season’s mindfulness sessions since the start of training camp and try to have one once a week if they are at home. Before the team watches game tapes, the players, Jackson and Coach Jeff Hornacek will gather in the film room. The mindfulness meetings can then last upward of 15 minutes.”

With the Bulls, Jackson brought in friend George Mumford to lead the sessions. But now Jackson has taken on the task himself, an act his players reportedly appreciate.

“It’s something different,” NBA vet Derrick Rose, who played for Jackson in Los Angeles and is now on the Knicks roster, told the Times. “Something to relax you. Something to stimulate your mind and help you out in the long term as far as clearing your mind.”

Recently, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr came out in support of medical marijuana, which he says he tried to treat back pain. Other NBA greats have been rumored to get down on the medicinal and funky herb in search of a clearer head. Perhaps the next time the Knicks take on the Warriors, a mindfulness/medical bud blaze sesh should precede the opening tip.

And maybe Jackson will light the first bowl. The coach dropped a cannabis bombshell Tuesday on CBS Sports Network's We Need to Talk:

"[When I was recovering from back surgery], I was smoking marijuana during that period of time," Jackson said. "I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever. But I never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation ... We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA. I don't think we have been able to stop it. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA. It is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it."

Because, when you get down to it, weed culture is already dealing with the NBA.