NBA champion John Salley is back in the cannabis market, after a project with Daron Phillips to launch an insurance plan for cannabis businesses, and Deuces22, his premium cannabis brand, with his daughter Tyla serving as CEO. Most recently, Salley took upon the role of vice president of business development of TIDL Sport—a line of CBD-enhanced products designed for recovery in athletics, and one of The Anthos Group’s cannabinoid-based brands.
TIDL Sport’s angle is to combine the power of CBD with cryotherapy—specifically designed for post-workout recovery after strenuous activity.
Following his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, Salley said that he had won “four championship rings, with three different teams, in three different decades and two different millenniums.” Playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal with the Lakers, Salley left the NBA for a career in Hollywood, reality TV, and as a talk show host.
Salley explained that ignoring the opportunities of Green Rush would be the equivalent of ignoring the opportunities of the 19th century Gold Rush, despite the plant’s troubled history. Why not participate?
On the TIDL Sport website, you’ll see many other endorsements including everyone from UFC Fighter Johnny Walker to U.S. Olympian Kristi Castlin. Cryotherapy can treat tendonitis, sprains, and chronic pain, even without the added benefits of CBD in TIDL Sports spray. Salley shared some insight to Forbes about the new line.
Adams: You recently took upon a role at TIDL Sport as the VP of Business Development. As many pro athletes are subject to anti-doping policies, are TIDL products free of traces of THC?
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Salley: 100% THC-free. There’s not even any residue of THC. And just to let you know—It would be better if it was—but I believe we have such a great product. And I’ve had a lot of products. And this product works. I like what we’ve done. I like the packaging on TIDL. And I love what we’re doing with TIDL.
Adams: How does the RECOVER Hemp Powered Cryotherapy spray work?
Salley: I gave TIDL to a girl who was a football player. And she’s one of the ones who go really go hard. When I gave her that, she was like, “Yeah, [injuries] froze that part of my life, and I can’t play.” And I was like, “Yeah, I’ll tell you what, this shit is real.” And then I gave it to a lady that had a stroke. And, you know, she’s trying to learn how to walk again. And all the rehearsals and practices they have been doing, you know, was fatiguing her. I said, “Spray that on and in five seconds—you’re gonna feel the difference.” She called me back and said, “I’m ready to do a testimonial.” I went to those guys [at TIDL Sport] and said, “I know we’ve been talking a long time. I got to get involved.” So imagine if they were able to spray something, you can handle it like that during a timeout in the locker room [after an injury]. None of that shuts you down during the locker room stuff. We really don’t care in the pros—football, baseball. No one really cares about [pain management]. We just want to know if I can still keep playing. The best example of that would be Drew Brees. One thing about Drew Brees was that he didn’t want the guys to know he was hurt. So he got up. And he couldn’t move his arm. But he didn’t want anybody to know he was hurt. And so they were like, “Oh, yeah, so you stay with your game plan.” And then he said, “I can’t do it. I can barely breathe.” But see if he could have just sprayed something, like that [cryotherapy], and it would’ve changed everything. It’s not just for major athletes. It’s just that everybody is going to run into a situation. If you’re going to do any physical activity, you’re going to get to it. You want relief fast. Yeah, you wanted to be fixed, of course everybody wants to be healed. Really, you just want to leave and this gives you relief while it’s working on the product and your body.
Adams: How does it cryotherapy work in terms of minimizing pain after a workout?
Salley: Well, anytime you put anything cold onto your body, like if you put ice on your body, in 20 minutes the ice turns to heat. What that means is your body wants to protect the heart. Right? So when there’s ice in place, your body realizes that, and won’t let the ice become an entry point and your body sends blood there to heat up the area. So that’s why the ice is going at, one, it takes away inflammation, but two, it starts healing and adding to the stem cells that it is healing it in the first place. So when you’re doing [cryotherapy] spray, it tells your brain and all the reactors and all the sensors you have in your skin. And in that period, of course, your brain is being told really quickly what’s happening. But when you put the freeze on it, the brain goes, “Oh, send blood to the area.” It sends blood to the area, to calm it down, because you want to calm down your receptors, you don’t want to constantly put things in your body to go on to receptors, that kind of dull it, you want it not to dull the receptors. So this is a perfect way of getting CBD into your body. You don’t have to worry about if you’ve taken any other medicine, why any other pills is not going to counteract because it’s not getting into the bloodstream. That’s another important thing: We don’t want anybody blaming our stuff from getting in. “Well, I took this and kind of reacted, I should have done this.” We’re not in that part of the pharmaceuticals. So we’re ahead of the game.
Salley: So the answer your question, yes. There are two CVS locations within walking distance from my house in Los Angeles. And it depends on how I’m feeling or what direction I go, but most of everything I need is purchased out of CVS. I do every kind of transaction, I gotta get my wife’s cards, we’ve got to get any quick gifts, that’s where you got to send us any pharmaceuticals. We know exactly which one that I can walk to the end of my block and half a block down and get to it. So it’s very important that we are involved with a company that decided to be all around help. You know, the one thing that CVS did that impressed me, was they took all tobacco out of their store. And they said, “How could you be a drugstore and a health store? And you’re selling poison? Direct poison.” So I know it took a hit of $1.2 billion to their bottom line, but it’s true, that they were really serious about being the place that people can come in and get a healthy product. That’s why we’re so so happy to have ourselves in CVS.
Adams: You’ve launched multiple cannabis ventures. Why did you decide to include Tyla in your operations with Deuces22?
Salley: Well, it’s so funny because we started it together. We just decided that she should be the CEO. I said, “Yo, I said, we should start a cannabis line.” And she said to me, “You want to invest in my future?” [And I discussed her future in college.] And I said, “Well, let’s do it.” She was like, “I can always go to school on tuition. But I’m not always going to be young for the Green Rush. This is the Green Rush and I gotta get in now.” The reason she’s the CEO is because she’s a 24 year old, which is considered a Millennial. But this chick—I’m not bullshitting you—I love that she’s my daughter. I tell her every time we leave, I give her a hug. I go, “I cannot believe I had something to do with making you. I just cannot believe it.” Because of my age I didn’t think it would work. A guy challenged her when she said was in the top 50 women in cannabis. And he said, “What’s your demographic? Who you want to sell it to?” She said, “Anybody on Instagram.” He goes, “Well, I’m not on Instagram.” She said, “I guess you don’t want to buy my stuff.” And he goes, “What? So you’re gonna cancel out my money?” And she said, “No, but I’m selling to everybody that’s on Instagram, on Snapchat, on Tik Tok. “Those are the people I’m going to sell to. You’re the type to go by your Jack Herer. Or this. Or that.” And the guy was like, “Holy shit.” She was that smart and that cool.
Adams: Serious athletes need serious recovery. Tell us how CBD plays a role in the recovery process.
Salley: So as far as being in cannabis, I wanted to start with CBD first. I had heard about it around 2008-2009. I was with my boy Drew, which was first time I was introduced to shatter. Yeah. Tyla was like, “Yo, you extract out of this plant? CBD is the cannabinoid that really helps your body. Are you kidding me?” It costs [a fortune to extract that]. I knew CBD. CBD is better known as what we call hemp oil. Our hemp oil literally is extracted from our product from our from own farms. So far, until we get so big that we have to start building more farms or buy some other other other hats. But we’re particular about that too. From where it comes from to it being in your medicine cabinet is important to us. So that’s another thing: I don’t want to have to always travel with stuff. If something happens and I say go to CVS and buy this. I want it to be the same and do that great product. Same thing with Deuces 22. My daughter was like, “We have to figure out who our [allies] are.” The same way we get our food because we’re vegan. We live a plant-based lifestyle. It’s hard for me to leave California, because I have seven farmers that I’ve been buying from for 14 years now. And my wife—they know she’s going to cover the Farmers Market. So was the same thing when it comes to CBD. I don’t want any letdown. I want it just stay at the highest level possible.
Adams: Your career in the NBA was extensive. Is it true that off-season is open season for NBA cannabis smokers?
Salley: So I didn’t smoke weed until the last month as a Laker. We were in Sacramento playing in the playoffs. And I was in a situation where I smoked some weed. And then when I was down, and took a joint for my teammate, he was like, “Yo, this is the chronic, and I know you’re not a weed smoker. Maybe you shouldn’t be the one smoking this.” I was like, “Give it to me, man!” And I was with a friend of mine, and so she wanted me so okay. Listen, it was the first time I slept solid! And I woke up late, barely making it to the bus, and I have no pain. When I woke up, I was outside in front of the Capitol. Stretching, like, “Oh my God, my legs. My arms. This all feels great.” I never forgot it. Never ever, ever forgot it from that day on, I was interested in the weed. And I said to my brothers, “How did you know this guy?” When I was young, my brothers used to smoke weed in the bathroom—my three older brothers. And when it came time to pass it to me, they’d be like, “Don’t smoke this.” And they would go by me, but I was hotboxing. I didn’t realize if I would have been smoking weed, from the beginning of being an NBA, I would have played as long as Kobe. I played 15. But I didn’t like it anymore. And my body was hurting. If I would have known these different things to stop my body from hurting, as opposed to picking an opioid to feel better. “Take this and shut up.” If you would have just told me “Hey, there’s other ways.” When I found out I had high cholesterol, I was 27 years old. They wanted to give me Lipitor. If I would have just known. If I would have just known that I could [just smoke weed]. I didn’t need I didn’t need a pill, I was going to also make me impotent, well, the side effects are infinite. And then you have another field called viagra. It looked like the whole thing was set up to get you in a system of having a whole bunch of yellow bottles around. And I didn’t want to live that life.
And that was when I got into colonics. And then I went into plant-based foods. And today I’m 241 pounds. And when I played I was 250. And I literally am in better shape than I was. But one thing with this new machine called a Shifter which I also got involved with. I got trying to figure out how I don’t drag my feet and walk hunched over and and stand up wrong. I watch all of that. So this was an important thing to me when I realized that plants are what we need to put in our our bodies and nature to heal from a plant. I just watched the Cosmos last night. And it was funny when they were talking about the system that goes underneath from trees, feeding trees, feeding plants, feeding brushes, and we look at and go “Oh, those are weeds.” And not only that, things have all kinds of energy in them. So I really got into exactly how the body is a part of it part of the cycle.I learned and we made it in a factory. As I used to say “No, don’t do things that come from a plant”—plant meaning from a manufacturing plant. I drive a Tesla until BMW makes it all electric. I’ll be driving a Tesla. And I have to say, “How can I make my footprint—which is a large foot—as small as possible on this planet.” And this is how I think everybody thinks about the best they can be the best they can be without anybody hurting anybody else.
Adams: You’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years. Why did you decide to adopt a healthier plant-based diet?
Salley: I had high cholesterol, I had high blood pressure. I had body odor. And it’s because your body is constantly trying to push off all these toxins. Well, when I cleanse my lower intestines, meaning when I clean my mind—because I consider your low intestines your mind. That’s the organizer. But your mind, your gut, is what makes all the decisions. And if you have dead food in there, processed foods, things not moving, alcohol, too much sugar, your intestines look like a slum. It looks like a ghetto. And most people have the body set up like that. And that’s why everybody smells like that. So when I literally cleaned my mind, I didn’t wash my mind, I cleaned it. I’m able to see things different. My body reacts differently. But there’s no adult acne at 25 years old. what it is, is I was full of shit. And no pun intended. I stopped being full of shit physically, mentally and spiritually. Meaning I had at 40 I decided not to lie more. So after having a three hour conversation, my wife cannot talk to me for three days. The one thing that I get from everybody that I know now is respect. You’re going to hear the truth, I’m going to tell it to you compassionately. Because the Dalai Lama says honesty without compassion is brutality. I don’t need to be brutally honest. I don’t need to be brutal about anything. But I focused on making that a part of my life. A lot of guys go and they get saved and become born again. Christian. You know, they want to hide that way. I don’t need to go outside myself for like, I needed to know that I needed to focus inside.