Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard openly discussed his offseason marijuana use on the "The Michael Irvin Show" on local ESPN Radio affiliate (103.3 FM) on Friday afternoon with hosts Irvin and Kevin Kiley.
Joining us now from the Mavericks, Josh Howard. Josh, how you doing?
JH: I'm fine, how are you?
KK: Good. Very good, Josh.
MI: We thank you for joining us.
JH: Glad to be here again.
MI: We want to, let's first go straight to this article, and I was just reading it, and actually reading it for the first time about these rumors of your marijuana use. I guess they all come from this article, and this article is written, and it says here, and you responded a lot of people have that problem. Somebody was talking to you about the problems that NBA players have with the use of marijuana, and it has you in quotes. "A lot of people have that problem." Is all of this true that I am reading?
JH: As far as like players in the league having that problem?
JH: Yeah, I don't think it's nothing that's hidden. Like everybody in the media world, and at this point would know that NBA players do smoke marijuana.
MI: Well, also in this article, you were talking about that you don't feel that you have a problem, that you don't smoke during the season, but you do smoke in the offseason. How true is that?
JH: Yeah, it's true. But, you know, like I was saying to the guys, that has nothing to do with what I do as far as basketball. You know, when I go out there, I go out there and perform. That's how I feel about it.
KK: Well, and therein lies the problem. You're not having a great series against the Hornets to this point -- 13.5 points per game, and I think you're shooting about 27 percent. You realize when you admit to this, that the media, people out there are going to assign the problems that you're having on the court to the fact that you've admitted that you, at times, smoke marijuana, you realize that?
JH: Oh, yeah, I understand that.
KK: How do you feel about that? Does that not bother you?
JH: I know it's not true.
KK: How do you determine, the thing that I have concern with here, is how do you determine how much it really does affect you or what residual effect it does have on you?
JH: I mean, I just think once it affects me, you realize that you should take care of it. You know, like what I was saying was just out of a random question, you ask marijuana use, you know, I just let them know that most of the players in the league use marijuana, and I have, and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason sometimes. You know, that's my personal choice, that's my personal opinion. But I don't think that's stopping me from doing my job. You know, just because I'm not going the same way I've been going, that's no reason for you and the media to say, oh, it's because he's getting high. That's not the reason. I'm still in-season. I'm not smoking nothing.
MI: I want to ask, why is that the reason? But I also wanted to ask you, Josh, why do you feel it's necessary? You said a lot of guys that smoke marijuana in the league, but a lot of guys aren't sitting here saying that they smoke it. Why do you feel it's necessary to be totally truthful and honest about this?
JH: I mean, I was raised on being honest and truthful with myself and my family, you know, so as far as me being able to say it, yeah, I can say it with no problems and go out there and perform to the best of my ability and not even think about it. I mean, that's just how I am. I mean, I know you've met people around me, and people that will let you know that I can say it with no problems and go out there and perform to the best of my abilities, and that's just how I am. I know you've met people around me, and people who will let you know besides me being a quiet guy, I'll tell you how I feel. That's about it.
MI: But what are Mark Cuban and Avery Johnson saying to you about you being open and upfront about your use of marijuana?
MI: They haven't come to you and said one word about maybe you shouldn't say that or maybe you shouldn't share so much, honesty is good?
JH: I think they take me for a better person and a mature adult to handle that. Like I'm not going to put myself in no kind of position to fail as far as that situation is involved. You know, so, like I say, that's me. That's what I'm going to do when I'm by myself and my personal time. I'm not trying to get involved with anything or anybody else, as far as like, don't bring me down. They understand that.
KK: Talking with Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks. There have been report that Josh partakes of a little weed?
MI: Partakes? He just said it.
KK: Well, I was getting to that, Josh partakes of a little weed in the offseason. He has corroborated that and says that he does. Josh, let me ask you this question hypothetically, if there were no tests and you were allowed, well, not allowed, but if there were no tests during the regular season, would you smoke during the regular season?
JH: Probably wouldn't.
KK: You probably wouldn't?
JH: No, I mean, this is my job, you know. This is something I enjoy doing. When I was in high school and playing AAU, I wasn't getting high playing basketball, that wasn't the thing to do, you know. So I wouldn't do that.
KK: Do you think it would affect your game if you did?
JH: To be honest, with marijuana, you never know what it's going to do. Some people handle it different. I can't say what it will do to me personally, because I wouldn't try it, so I don't know.
KK: It might make you jump higher?
JH: Yeah (laughing).
MI: Josh, do you not believe there's a possibility that you can be deceiving yourself? Let me share what I mean in this manner here, because, you say OK, I only smoke in the offseason. Never do it during the season. Now, and every time the season comes and when I need to, I stop because of the season, basically. Now I had that same thought. I used to think oh, I don't have a problem, because football is my true addiction, and I never did anything during the season. I rationalized it just like that, saying I only do it in the offseason, so I have control of it. But when I retired, it became more of an issue, because I didn't have football to turn to. Do you ever think about what's going to happen when you no longer have basketball, the basketball addiction to get you over the weed addiction?
JH: Yeah, I've thought about it. You know what I mean? It's been a lot of different things that have come to my mind. I just think that's something that I have to deal with when it comes time. But for right now, yeah, I'm addicted to basketball.
You know, like you said, I'm addicted to basketball, I'm addicted to my family, and those two things are going to come first, along with God, you know. So I'm not even dealing with it. I'm going to have to wait till the time comes.
KK: When the season is over, this is kind of a personal question, but it needs to be asked, when the season's over, do you look forward to your first joint?
JH: No (laughing).
KK: Yes, you do.
JH: No, I'm not.
KK: Yes, you do.
JH: Your first joint (laughing)?
KK: What do we call them nowadays?
JH: Whatever you want to call it.
KK: Now I'm asking you questions that I know people out there want to ask you. Does it not bother you that this is against the law?
MI: That's what it is.
KK: What? The purchase and use of marijuana in the United States of America.
JH: Always something bothering me about those things. You know, I'm not going to put myself in the kind of position to, you know, fail. So that's not even in my mind right now. That's what I'm trying to tell you.
KK: No, I hear you.
MI: But people see that you guys are failing right now in the playoffs.
JH: Oh, yeah, they're going to try to find somebody to put it on.
MI: Where should they put it though, Josh?
JH: On the whole team. This is a team game. You go out there and play five on five. You know, you have to respect each man that puts on his uniform. That's how I feel about this game. This season is different from last season and the season before that. Teams just start getting better in the NBA. Players are getting better in the NBA. It ain't just the top 10 guys every year. There's guys on each team that will get you 30 and 10 a night. We ran into the high team right now, and we're going to get back on track tonight. That's all I'm worried about is just winning games.
KK: What has been the problem?
JH: I can't even tell you like it's been a problem. It's just, let's see, how can I put this? I think the lack of focus, sometimes, comes up in certain quarters, you know. With guys that just realize that we're taking too many jump shots when we should be driving to the basket.
KK: Josh, I don't mean to interrupt you here, but this is the question that everybody that is a Mavericks fan asks, how can you have lack of focus when you're in the playoffs and it's your shot to fix the entire season, how do you lose focus as a team under these conditions?
JH: I mean, it can be a team going on a run. You're just sitting there thinking about the last time another team went on a run and what happened. It could be that easy.
KK: Is it them or is it you?
JH: As far as the team?
JH: It's everybody. It's a team thing. You know, like it takes five to communicate on the defensive end. I can easily forget the defensive coverage and go under instead of going over, and the guy knocks down a jump shot on me, and that will be my fault. But we're holding each one accountable, and everybody helps each other. So my big men are going to help me out as well. So we all have to be on one page.
MI: People will say you're easily forgetting the defensive coverage because of the smoking. What do you say to that?
JH: I'm not smoking (laughing).
KK: They may say it's a residual effect, Josh, from last offseason.
JH: Like I say, they're always going to try to find somebody to put it on.
KK: Josh, are you disappointed in your performance?
JH: No, this is the best season I've had in my five years. Like people don't realize it, but I've gotten better each year, and this is another year that I've gotten better. I'm not going to let nobody steal my joy. Like my mama always tells me, you can't let nobody do that. I work hard, I'll continue to work hard in this situation.
MI: Josh, you know, like everything, when everything isn't going well, people are looking to put the finger on someone and point it somewhere, do you believe that they are reluctant to put the finger and point it at the leaders of this team, and say it's Dirk, and they're saying it's because Josh is getting high?
JH: Yeah, that's how it is, you know. I've seen Dirk go through it. I knew my time would come, you know. I just didn't know when. I handle myself by watching Dirk and the way he handles it. So things happen.
MI: I don't know how you make this turn, but you do a summer basketball camp. Do you not worry about the parents and all, everybody, all these kids hearing this and it affecting the work you're trying to do with kids and boys and girls at age 7 to 18?
JH: I mean, I know it's there. You know, if parents trust me enough to know that I'm out here telling the truth and not sitting up here lying, like everybody else is, I think they'll give me the opportunity to help their kids out, you know what I mean? That's one thing I can hang my hat on. I'm going to help the community no matter what's going on in my personal life. I'm going to stop everything to go all out for kids because I know how it was without a father figure. I know how it is to have to depend on my mom and grandma. You know, I want these kids to see there's an athlete out there that really cares about them, no matter what his situation is. He really cares about the community and the kids.
MI: What do you say when a kid comes up to you and asks you is it OK to smoke marijuana?
JH: Oh, I'm sorry. You went out.
MI: What do you tell a kid when he comes up to you and asks you is it OK to smoke marijuana?
JH: Oh, I mean, I'm going to let him know, you know, personally it's not for you to do it. But I can't hold your hand, all I can do is tell you right and wrong. At the end of the day, the kid's going to make a decision off what he wants to do. That's what I had to do. That's what my brother had to do and all my friends had to do. Like they say, you can lead the horse to the lake, but you're not going to make them drink. I can tell them everything they need to know.
KK: I have two sons and I made them drink.
JH: Oh, really (laughing).
KK: No, not alcohol. I made them drink the water at the end of the thing.
KK: Hey, one last question, Josh: Is Chris Paul too tough? Is there any way for you guys to stop him?
JH: We can stop him, you know. I think we can wear them down on the defensive end, get them involved in more pick-and-rolls and post-ups, you know. I think it will take a lot away from his game and being to the basket, find the guys with the open shots. We can wear them down on the defensive end, it will be a big advantage for us.
KK: I've got three dinners riding on you guys this weekend. I won't tell you which side I'm on. Thank you, appreciate it very much. Good luck tonight.
JH: Thank you.