Well into his 70s, retired NBA coach Don Nelson (also known as Nellie) is still trying new things. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Don said that his pal Willie Nelson got him interested in smoking pot about 3 to 4 years ago, something he didn’t expect to get into.
Though Willie and Don have ties to Texas since Don coached and formed the Dallas Mavericks into a winning team from 1997 to 2005, the two Nelsons bonded in Maui where Don now lives and holds a celebrity poker game.
When Don was asked about his card games between poker regulars Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, and of course, Willie Nelson, he said, “They can get up to $2,000 to $3,000, especially when Willie is in. He never saw a card he didn’t like. He raises every time, no matter what. Every time it goes by him, it’s $50, $50, $50. I’m conservative. But Willie, man, he’s wild. Woody is wild. Owen’s pretty good. Woody’s a terrible card player.”
And when Willie’s around, everyone knows that marijuana will also be making an appearance. “I didn’t think I’d ever be a pot smoker, but hanging out with Willie and Woody and guys like that, you know, everybody smokes in those games. It just became kind of natural,” Don told the Times. “Usually you’re smoking with your friends, sitting around, telling stories, you smoke a bowl. It’s not that I smoke all the time. I usually just smoke at night during poker games. Like Willie told me, it’s hard to be depressed when you’re smoking pot.”
Don also added that smoking has helped him with pain management stemming from old injuries and to curb stress. He has a medical card, and he also grows the legally allowed 10 plants at a time for his own use – a mixture of O.G. and Hindu Kush he calls Nellie Kush. “Oh, it’s great. Great stuff,” he told the reporter, revealing a personal side of himself that many weren’t expecting to see.