Don Nelson credits Willie Nelson for switching him on to pot

With 1,335 regular-season victories, Don Nelson is still the winningest head coach in NBA history. Now 77 years old and retired to Hawaii, he's got a different kind of score going on.

By John Chick

Nelson grows marijuana for personal consumption on his Maui farm, and says playing poker games with music legend Willie Nelson (no relation) and actor Woody Harrelson got him into the bud.

"I didn't smoke until maybe three or four years ago," Nelson told the New York Times' Alex Williams. "I never smoked when I was coaching. I just started. Willie got me smoking ... hanging out with Willie and Woody and guys like that, you know, everybody smokes in those games. I usually just smoke at night during poker games. Like Willie told me, it's hard to be depressed when you're smoking pot."

Nelson had a 13-year NBA playing career before getting into coaching, and says the marijuana helps with pain management.

"When any athlete gets old, every injury you have sustained seems to resurrect," the man known as Nellie said. "It helps me deal with the pain without pain pills, and helps with that stress."

He even has a name for his personal strain.

"Great stuff," he said. "It’s called Nellie Kush."

Nelson is best known for his two stints coaching the Golden State Warriors, including the "Run TMC" era and the "We Believe" squad that knocked off the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 playoffs.

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