Retired NBA star Jamal Mashburn joined the board of cannabis health and wellness company Revolution Global as an advisor, the company announced on Thursday.
Mashburn, a former forward who played for teams that included the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks, became the latest in a series of former athletes promoting the booming legal pot industry. Mashburn, who operates Papa John’s (PZZA) and Toyota (TM) franchises, will advise the Chicago-based company on a range of issues like marketing and business expansion.
“A lot of people have tried to recruit me in this particular sector, because of my retail experience, being a franchisee of Papa Johns and operating numerous Toyota and Lexus dealerships,” Mashburn told Yahoo Finance in an interview.
However, he felt that Revolution had more potential, and he sought an opportunity where he felt he could best utilize his skills. Among other things, he’s also acquainted with the company’s current board chair, Tony Hunter.
“Tony’s a good friend, and I trust him,” Mashburn said. “And from a personal side, they didn’t look at me as an athlete, because I don’t consider myself an athlete. I’m a retired athlete, but not a retired businessman.”
The former basketball player said that the cannabis space was a natural fit for athletes, given the stress the lifestyle puts on the body. While there’s still controversy surrounding the use of legal pot and its derivative, cannabidoil (CBD), Mashburn contends the compound’s use can help players maximize pain management.
“Athletes put a lot of miles on their body—speaking from an NBA perspective running up and down that court, it’s a physical game,” Mashburn told Yahoo Finance.
“So after the game is over, the most important part of it, for athletes, is recovery,” he added. “And I think you’re going to see a trend of more guys leaning towards CBD as a form of recovery, and also a form of anti-inflammatory.”
Legal cannabis and CBD are still facing regulatory hurdles at the state and federal level. Yet Revolution Global’s Hunter, a former publisher of the Chicago Tribune, said the company is waiting for the regulations to catch up to the market as the green rush continues.
“One of the things we are looking forward to as a science-based research-driven company is the ability to really do clinical trials on cannabis, and to really study this and the dosage requirements,” he told Yahoo Finance.
“So I think regulatory bodies have to catch up to the marketplace, and will then see a rationalization both on the supply side, and that’s when we’ll be able to see who’s going to be playing in the direct to consumer space,” Hunter added.
According to Hunter, Revolution is well-poised to succeed in the market, since it operates in the medical marijuana space as the largest provider in Illinois and will be entering Florida, Arkansas and Maryland.
“We’re looking at all and everything about [cannabis] and how to maximize [its] benefits.”
Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem