Russell Westbrook leads NBPA Players Voice Awards Oklahoma City guard captures three awards, including best dressed

Russell Westbrook got a dap of appreciation from his NBA peers on Friday.

The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and reigning NBA MVP earned three trophies in the annual National Basketball Players Association Players Voice Awards on Friday: “Most Valuable Player,” “Hardest to Guard” and, no surprise here, “Best Dressed.”

It has been a banner year for Brodie, the fearless fashion maverick who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated‘s “Fashionable 50” in June. Westbrook has become as famous for his daring off-the-court style choices as his jaw-dropping on-court athleticism. Unlike many of the NBA’s taller players, the former UCLA Bruin has used his relatively small frame (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) to wear off-the-rack clothing that is at times adventurous, trendsetting or just plain weird.

Over the years, Westbrook’s high-concept style has even coined a phrase: “Westbrookian.” Ever see an NBA star wearing skinny jeans with an oversized ripped-to-shreds T-shirt before a game? Or colorful sunglasses to a news conference, or bleached denim or capri-length pants with slide sandals? That’s all No. 0. And while other athletes have dared to wear harem pants or a full-length fur coat, only Westbrook can really make it look effortless.

Billed as “the only awards voted on BY the players, FOR the players,” the annual Players Voice Awards are voted on at the end of the regular season.

The winners were announced Friday morning on the NBPA’s Twitter feed in a series of short videos. Hosted by former Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, the lively clips were tweeted out every five minutes for nearly an hour, with the award categories getting breezy explanatory assists from an All-Star roster of the league’s biggest players.

“The Player You Secretly Wish Was on Your Team” was awarded to LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers captain who also nabbed “Global Impact Player.”

Other awards went to:

  • “Best Rookie” – Malcolm Brogdon, the former Virginia shooting guard who had a standout year with the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • “Best Defender” – Kawhi Leonard, the San Antonio Spurs forward and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
  • “Most Influential Veteran” – Vince Carter, the 40-year-old shooting guard currently signed with the Sacramento Kings, giving credence to his long-standing “half-man, half amazing” legend within pop culture.
  • “Comeback Player of the Year” and “Best Social Media Follow” – Joel Embiid, the Rihanna-loving, Lavar Ball-hating All-Star and Philadelphia 76ers center.
  • “Clutch Performer” – Isaiah Thomas, who led the Boston Celtics in the postseason despite personal tragedy.
  • “Best Home Court Advantage” – Golden State Warriors and the spirited fans who attend Dubs home games in Oracle Arena.
  • “Best off the Bench” – Lou Williams, the shooting guard who was traded last year from the Houston Rockets to the L.A. Clippers as part of the Chris Paul deal.
  • “Coach You Most Like to Play For” – San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has won this award three years in a row.

The decision to announce award winners via Twitter came from “not wanting to interrupt the NBA’s Awards,” which was televised in June, said Jordan Schlachter, president of National Basketball Players Inc. “We also didn’t want to get caught up in the busy news of free agency, so we pushed it to August.”

Schlachter noted that this year’s winners will receive trophies early in the 2017-18 NBA season during halftime ceremonies at home games around the league.

Hugh Freeze called other escort services and other news of the week The Week That Was August 14-18

Monday 08.14.17

Three days after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump attacked a pharmaceutical CEO for standing against the Charlottesville attack. In 1995 news, an Oklahoma man was arrested for allegedly planning to blow up a building in Oklahoma City. A Georgia pastor denies that he offered on Instagram to perform anilingus on hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj. Former NFL tight end Jermichael Finley said national anthem protests by current players Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett are “more of marketing” and thinks they’re protesting for “a selfish reason.” In unrelated news, the Baltimore Ravens signed another quarterback not named Colin Kaepernick. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, conceivably talking about the U.S. government or the New York baseball franchise, said he would “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.” In celebration of quarterback Jay Cutler’s arrival in Miami, the San Diego State football team had to cancel practice because of a chickenpox outbreak in the team’s locker room.

Tuesday 08.15.17

The Alameda County (California) Sheriff’s Department retweeted the news conference of white supremacist Richard Spencer; the department said it was an accident. Trump retweeted a conspiracy theorist, a photo of a train running over a CNN logo and a man who called him a “fascist”; the president later un-retweeted the latter two tweets. Captain America, who is literally a Nazi, tweeted, “This is insane” in response to Trump’s news conference on Charlottesville. Train service in Chicago was stopped after a severed head and leg were found on the tracks; “F— no. I’m gonna Facebook Live this,” one frustrated passenger said in response to the delay. Taco Bell, a company not satisfied with ruining only tacos, is offering a breakfast taco that uses a fried egg as the shell. A history professor blamed tennis star Serena Williams for Trump’s presidency and the re-rise of white supremacy. Former NFL coach and Man Who Fights At Bars Rob Ryan does not agree with national anthem protests because Americans should “be proud of our country.” An Englishman who stole over $22,000 from a store was sentenced to three years in prison after police uncovered his résumé at the premises. In more international news, a kangaroo punched an Australian boy in the face.

Wednesday 08.16.17

A Wisconsin man shot himself in the heart with a nail gun and did not die: “Once I felt the nail in me, I was like, ‘Well I can’t pull that one out,’ ” the man told The Washington Post. The personal attorney for Trump, who is Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor, played the “I have a black friend” game while deflecting his client’s non-condemnation of neo-Nazis. Trump’s other attorney forwarded an email that praised Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy’s secession plan, and accused the Black Lives Matter movement of being “totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.” The family of Lee, without a hint of

irony, said the Confederate general “would never ever stand for that sort of violence” exhibited in Charlottesville. Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze, it turns out, called more than one escort service during his time at the school. Floyd Mayweather now has the opportunity to punch Conor McGregor in the face even quicker. The Chick-fil-A restaurant in the new Atlanta Falcons stadium will not be open on Sundays; the defending NFC champs have only one non-Sunday home game this season.

Thursday 08.17.17

Trump, the creator of “Lyin’” Ted Cruz, “Little” Marco Rubio and “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, is slowly running out of insulting adjectives, calling the junior senator from Arizona “Flake” Jeff Flake. A New York man who carried a tiki torch in Charlottesville last weekend and once attended a Sharia law protest, told USA Today that “I’m not what they’re making me out to be.” Three birds, two with a feather-shedding disease, are involved in a polyamorous relationship. Face-painted Juggalos are ready to scrap with alt-right protesters. Trump condemned the attack in Barcelona within hours of it happening, and hours later he lost another business advisory council. As if it even matters, a Rutgers football reporter, who covers a team that lost 78-0 to Michigan last season, submitted a Freedom Of Information Act request for the Wolverines’ final roster. A neo-Nazi is mad because the internet made fun of him for crying about being issued an arrest warrant. Two days after LeBron James referred to Trump as the “so-called president,” Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, being blunt as usual, added, “We don’t f— with him.”

Friday 08.18.17

New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, known not to be a mincer of words, said, “Take all them m—–f—–s down” in response to questions about Confederate statues. Pelicans teammate Rajon Rondo, who is on his fifth team in four years and once reportedly told his coach to “f— off,” won an award for “best teammate.” Far-right radio host Alex Jones was called a “racist f—” by a helmet-wearing cyclist and had coffee thrown on him on the streets of Seattle; the video, of course, could have been staged. Trump lost yet another council. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard smiled … twice. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was either fired or resigned two weeks ago.

Daily Dose: 8/18/17 Tina Fey wants to let us all eat cake

The week is over for me at The Dan Le Batard Show. I’d like to thank everyone who tuned in and contributed, and if you didn’t catch it Friday, here’s the podcast.

Another one bites the dust. Steve Bannon, the man whom many people consider to be at the root of President Donald Trump’s plans for global destruction and domination, is out at the White House, which is not exactly stunning, but most certainly significant. Let’s not forget that he’s one of the founding members of Breitbart, which as far as the right wing is concerned, is a major media outlet. There are rumors that he’ll return to the company, which means he’ll have the platform to basically smear his former boss. Once again, what a mess.

Tina Fey means well. She also happened to go to the University of Virginia, so the situation that unfolded in Charlottesville last weekend is close to her, clearly. But when she went on Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update: Summer Edition for a bit about how to cope with the news of the week, her message came from a place of extreme privilege and tone deafness. Most of us cannot legitimately even think about ignoring neo-Nazis and eating sheetcake. This is a truly serious situation. Her message was not exactly well-received. Here’s a thread.

Now that we’re tearing down Confederate statues left and right, we’ve got some plans to make. What are we going to do with all of them? And should we be putting other things in their place? If you listened to Angela Rye last night on Desus & Mero, quoting a friend from NPR, we should put them all in a museum that speaks to their specific crimes and horrific acts so people can learn in real time how awful they were. There’s also a grass-roots movement to design new monuments, and some of them are incredible.

Kevin Durant on Twitter is the best. He was off for a while, but now that’s he’s got his ring and his Finals MVP trophy, my man is outchea breaking people off in a way that you have to love. He’s already spoken his mind regarding whether or not he wants to go to the White House as a team with his NBA champion Golden State Warriors, and he is in full clapback mode at this point. He took a shot at ESPN for that fantasy football auction bit, and now he’s turned his lens to a former ESPN employee. Slim ain’t playing.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re of mixed race, specifically white and black, I could see how the situation in America right now could be more trying than ever. But those mixes come from somewhere. This story about how Trump ruined one son’s relationship with his white mother is truly fascinating.

Snack Time: Speaking of the president, The New Yorker has a new issue coming out soon, and the cover image is a definite doozy. Wow.

Dessert: Allure magazine is officially invited to the cookout.

The Truth Behind Reports of ‘Fentanyl-Laced Pot’

Various media outlets have reported that Fentanyl-laced marijuana overdoses are on the rise, across the United States and in Canada. The majority of those reports have been debunked as a smokescreen.

Marijuana is currently more of a hot a topic than it has been in recent decades; therefore, media outlets are racing to the courthouse, and the coroner’s office, hoping to be the first to report that there might be something new and deadly wrong with it. Due diligence is being thrown out the door.

Conclusive, reported proof of Fentanyl-laced marijuana being sold, or causing deaths, has yet to emerge.

Melvin Patterson, a spokesman for the DEA stated: “In regard to marijuana, I’m not familiar with that.”

In a recent case that was syndicated nationally by State House News Service, a Yarmouth, Massachusetts man overdosed on marijuana that was possibly laced with Fentanyl. State House reported that the Yarmouth Police Department said in a statement that its officers “believe that it is possible that the marijuana was laced with Fentanyl, which police are starting to see more and more across the country.”

An email from Deputy Chief of Police Steven G. Xiarhos said however, that, while the person who overdosed and his girlfriend stated to police officers that they did not, and do not use heroin/Fentanyl, “He may not have been 100 percent truthful, and hiding the fact they used heroin.”

Xiarhos went on to say, “We found no evidence of heroin in the room. We only found marijuana. The marijuana-related items were seized, and we are awaiting potential test results.”

Time will tell if the man’s bong has traces of Fentanyl in it.

Even so, while it is possible that his marijuana was laced with Fentanyl, pending further investigation, there won’t be any clear-cut proof that he unknowingly purchased it that way.

The likelihood of weed dealers cutting their buds with expensive Fentanyl is far-fetched.

Unless there is some dastardly dealer out there who is on par with the random psychopath who tampered with and contaminated aspirin bottles in the 1980s, there is a glaring lack of motive. Killing your clients will definitely not make them return to buy another baggie of bud.

There have been elusive reports of people burning transdermal Fentanyl patches, gel coating and all. No street dealer is bothering with this. If there is a risk, it would be with crushed pills.

It therefore seems more likely that some opioid users also smoke marijuana and are possibly combining the two substances. Reefer madness aside, while Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is easy to overdose on, marijuana is neither.

While marijuana legalization is gaining momentum worldwide, last March, the United Nations banned two chemicals used to make Fentanyl.

While it’s highly unlikely that anyone, including the man from Yarmouth, needed two shots of Narcan* to recover from a marijuana overdose, that still doesn’t necessarily mean this man’s marijuana came laced with Fentanyl.

London, Ontario marijuana activist Eric Shepperd is inclined to agree.

“I’m not sure if the report here is necessarily accurate by those who reported smoking only marijuana,” he said. “They may have done something else and are just declining to speak about it. That does happen from time to time.”

According to a report by Ontario-based media outlet the London Free Press, Dr. Mike Hart, who operates the Ready To Go medical cannabis clinic in London, Ontario, said he’s never heard of a case where Fentanyl has been put in marijuana.

“I’ve never heard of this happening before. I think it could possibly be difficult to detect in someone who’s an inexperienced user, because you’re not sure if you’re feeling different because of the cannabis or feeling different because of the Fentanyl,” he said.

“The safest way to get cannabis is to go to a medical clinic and get a physician to prescribe you cannabis that’s specifically for you, is the right ratio and the right strain,” he added.

Dr. Andrew Kerklaan, president and founder of Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics, was inclined to agree: “It is likely someone who has mixed drugs prior to overdose.”

Of course, the experts don’t always agree.

Dr. Kirk Maxey, told VICE, to test suspected synthetic opioids, that not only would such a mixture be rare—it might not even be scientifically possible.

“Documenting the pipe chemistry of Fentanyl in leaf material would be a research paper,” he told HIGH TIME. “And I don’t think it has been done yet.”

While Kerklaan agreed that he would be surprised if such research has been done, he stated in theory, the chemistry of mixing Fentanyl with marijuana is possible, purely from a temperature standpoint.

“Fentanyl has a flash point below 392° Fahrenheit (200° Celsius); meaning, it creates vapor at this point,” he explained. “Vaporizing cannabis is achieved between 302° Fahrenheit and 392° Fahrenheit (150° and 200° Celsius), so there is overlap there.”

“Fentanyl is also quickly absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth,” Kerklaan continued. “This could also mean that edibles could potentially be laced with Fentanyl. Personally, as a parent, this is one of my concerns—kids being introduced to Fentanyl without being aware, by eating something or smoking something that is laced. I haven’t read of any cases of this however.”

Some instances of parental panic can be attributed to Cincinnati coroner Lakshmi Sammarco’s report that, “We have [also] seen Fentanyl mixed with marijuana.”

Her office did not elucidate which particular methodology is used to determine that a body came in with Fentanyl-laced marijuana in its system, as opposed to marijuana in addition to opioids.

When VICE contacted Sammarco for clarification, she told them that her quote had been taken out of context. In fact, her office hasn’t seen Fentanyl-laced marijuana at all.

She added that U.S. Senator Rob Portman told her it had been spotted in northeast Ohio. She said that she didn’t know the senator’s source of this information.

There are no confirmed cases of Fentanyl-laced marijuana deaths anywhere in the country, but law enforcement officials, in response to Ohio’s rampant opioid epidemic, have issued recent warnings about the risk. These warnings were most likely misinterpreted.

Instead of trying to scare people into avoiding using marijuana, lest it be contaminated by the Fentanyl boogie man, it would be a lot more accurate to simply warn the general public not to mix marijuana with potentially fatal Fentanyl.

Better yet, it is more advisable to lay off opioids entirely, and simply consume cannabis, preferably from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Kerklaan concurred: “This fentanyl scare can also be seen as reason to legalize and fully regulate the production of marijuana. Look to Canada for the strident criteria that are in place for legal marijuana producers. The public has access to marijuana from a controlled, strict environment.”

*Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan among others, is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose. Naloxone may be combined within the same pill as an opioid to decrease the risk of misuse.

RELATED: Fentanyl in Marijuana? Probable Reefer Madness
You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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Off the record: A$AP Ferg We catch up with Harlem’s newest legend just days before he releases his album

From Sammy Davis Jr. to Dapper Dan, Puff Daddy to Cam’ron — Harlem has long been a hot spot for the country’s tastemakers. And with the recent addition of the A$AP Mob, the tradition continues.

While the Mob represents a collection of uptown’s most talented youth, one stands out as especially remarkable: Darold Ferguson Jr., otherwise known as A$AP Ferg.

We met up with Ferg for lunch on a recent Saturday in the city, and what we found was somebody whose energy levels were much different from what you would expect from the man who has released legendary turn-up anthems like “Shabba” and “Work.” His demeanor was calm, his words thoughtful. Ferg took more time than most celebrities to think through a question and answer it in the most lucid way possible.

Even his drink consumption was deliberate; he may have been drinking some combination of lemonade and cranberry juice. But for the remainder of our time with the rapper, it was strictly water.

His crew — not what you might expect either. It was less of an entourage and more of a mobile family gathering, with Ferg flanked by his uncle/bodyguard and two of his cousins/best friends.

As the day wore on, Darold became the Ferg we have all come to know — and threw a short but undeniably epic show at the MoMa PS1 venue.

Watch the video, get to know the man.

More – Off the record: Joey Bada$$

Where Are All the Medical Marijuana Doctors?

It’s one thing that 29 states have legal medical marijuana, but quite another to find a doctor to recommend it so patients can purchase their medicine.

Physicians can discuss and safely recommend, although not prescribe, cannabis to patients as a health care option, under state or federal law, thanks to a 2004 Federal Court decision that relied on the First Amendment.

“An integral component of the practice of medicine is the communication between a doctor and a patient. Physicians must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients,” read the decision.

Medical cannabis statutes in most states, going back to California’s Proposition 215 in 1996, choose this “recommendation” language carefully.

As states develop their MMJ laws, they enact regulations that include what and who can recommend and how the process works, but participating doctors are hard to find.

In Oregon, according to the Portland Mercury, the recommending physician has to be a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).

The recommending doctor must also be the attending physician of the patient and have primary responsibility for the cardholder’s care. The idea behind this is to discourage shady MDs and DOs from setting up medical-card mills without really treating their patients.

Qualifying for a medical marijuana card is not terribly difficult so long as the patient’s illness or condition is on the list of qualifying conditions, which varies from state to state.

Unfortunately the cost of an MMJ card is not cheap; the application fee is usually in the range of $200-$300, in addition to the cost of the doctor’s visit.

Taking all of this into account, one wonders why there are so few doctors willing to fill the growing need for their valuable services?

Some say they are reluctant to recommend medical marijuana because there isn’t enough research to choose it over prescription drugs.

Others are nervous about the feds because cannabis is still a Schedule I drug and federally illegal, although they are protected from prosecution. Then, there are those who just don’t like weed.

Some states haven’t been able to attract enough qualified physicians to get their legal MMJ programs up and running.

However, New York is still desperately seeking physiciansFlorida is having the same problem. Ohio the same, and on and on.

Many doctors have said they’d like to get involved but don’t feel they have enough knowledge about MMJ, which of course is not covered in medical school.

“We desperately need well-controlled unbiased, large-scale research studies into the efficacy of cannabis for treating disease states, which we have very little of right now,” said Sachin Patel of Vanderbilt University.

For now, here is a website that can help: is a trusted gateway where patients can search for certified physicians in every state in the union.

Good luck!

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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