VIDEO: McCollum Grills Commissioner Silver On White House Visits, Gambling, Legalized Marijuana

by Casey Holdahl
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When CJ McCollum and Adam Silver sat down for their first one-on-one interview back in 2013, McCollum had not yet been drafted by the Trail Blazers while Silver was still acting as understudy to then-commissioner David Stern. Since then, both men have made considerable gains in their respective fields, with McCollum rising up the ranks of the NBA’s elite and Silver becoming one of the most beloved and respected commissioners in sports.

As per their tradition (you can watch their interview from 2016 here) McCollum, with a $100 million contract extension set to kick in later this year, and Silver, presiding over one of the most successful eras in league history, sat down in New York City to discuss some of the issues facing players in the NBA. McCollum, whose skills as a journalist are only surpassed by his skills on the court (what happened to his editor status Players' Tribune?), doesn’t shy away from the hot button issues, asking Silver about his stance on teams visiting President Donald Trump at the White House, legalized sports gambling and marijuana use, particularly in states such as Oregon where it's legal. McCollum also asks about the Seattle Storm's with Planned Parenthood, the addition of three-on-three basketball as an Olympic sport and the commissioners use of Twitter. It’s a great interview as always and is worth watching in full, though a few of the commissioners more interesting quotes are transcribed below…

Commissioner Silver regarding his opinion on championship teams going to the White House and who should make that decision...

Adam Silver: "I definitely don’t think it should be a league decision. I don’t think we should be directing teams or players to go to the White House. It’s my view that, if invited, our teams should go to the White House, that regardless of people’s personal political views, I think that these institutions are bigger than any individual politician and any individual elected official. It concerns me that something like going to the White House after winning a championship is something that’s been a great tradition would become one that is partisan. I will say though, even though I think that teams should make decisions as organizations, that I would also respect an individual player’s decision not to go."

Commissioner Silver's views on sports gambling...

Adam Silver: "I accept as a given that there is an enormous amount currently being bet on sports in the United States, virtually all of it is underground. It’s a multi-hundred billion dollar industry, with zero transparency on the part of the league. So if there is unusual behavior, we have no way of detecting it. Think, on the other hand, of a public stock market. We all know of stories of insider trading and often the reason insider traders are caught is because there’s aberrational behavior. So it’s not as much that I’m an advocate for sports betting, it’s more I feel I’m a realist."

Silver's views on the NBA's drug policy, specifically in regards to marijuana (which McCollum notes he does not "partake in") which is now legal in numerous states...

Adam Silver: "I don’t see the need for any changes right now. It’s legal in certain states, but as you know, our players are constantly traveling and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states but no, it’s illegal in other states and have players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana and getting in trouble."