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Former Pacer Al Harrington: The Aspiring Weed Mogul?

The 17-year NBA veteran is trying his hand in the marijuana business post-career.

Jonathan Daniel| Getty Images


“We’re trying to get a billion-dollar exit,” Al Harrington tells me. This is not a crazy thing for the 6’9” former NBA journeyman to say; the hottest thing in the league these days, especially if you play for the Golden State Warriors, as Harrington once did, is to have a chunk of a tech startup. But Harrington’s billion won’t come from anything quite so disruptive. No, if Harrington has his way, he’ll get rich from something slightly more organic. Because Al Harrington is looking to become the league’s first marijuana mogul.

That’s why he’s taken me here: the Koreatown Medical Marijuana Collective, a charmingly ramshackle dispensary on Melrose in West Hollywood. They’ll be the sole California distributor of Harrington’svapes, from Viola Extracts, and his CBD products (made from the non-psychoactive part of the plant), from Harrington Wellness. But this is just the start. He thinks the NFL will allow cannabis in one therapeutic form or another inside of three years, and the NBA inside five. And legal pot, broadly, is said to be a $40 billion industry. Harrington wants a chunk of that business. (Harrington sends me home with one of his vape cartridges. I’m no expert, but I’d pay a billion, maybe a billion-two, for the recipe.)

In the past, you've said you thought maybe 70 or 80 percent of players in the league smoke?
That has not changed. For sure. Especially in the summertime, and I don't blame 'em. It's a way to relax. If you drink liquor? Think about the effect that liquor has on you: it dehydrates you, there's nothing healing with it. Would you rather a player get drunk, or go sit at home and eat an edible? That's where the game changes now, because it ain't about smoking. He goes home and pops an edible. There's so many ways to get THC now that it's like, let's open this thing up! Let's really have a real conversation!"

It's ironic that the Pacers traded Al Harrington for Stephen Jackson. That guy could really hit a J. 

Good for Al Harrington finding a second life after basketball, though. A lot of people, especially around here, may turn their nose down at the field he's chosen, but for a guy who played professional basketball for as long as he did, retirement could be difficult for him. 

He was in the NBA from the time he was 18 years old. There's been plenty of stories about guys who were lost after their playing days were over. Take former Pacer David Harrison for example. 

From the sounds of it in the article, it sounds like Harrington has some good points about the future of marijuana in the NBA and NFL. 


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