We sat down with retired NBA player John Salley and his daughter Tyla to talk about their new company.
John Salley played both power forward and center for the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Panathinaikos and the Los Angeles Lakers. Salley has also crafted a television career as a long-time host of the former Fox Sports Net show The Best Damn Sports Show Period
He was the first player in NBA history to play on three championship-winning franchises, as well as the first player (and only one of two, the other being Tim Duncan) in the NBA to play in three decades. These days he is joining the cannabis game, choosing to make it a family affair and launch his brand with his daughter Tyla Salley, who is CEO.
Together they decided to start a cannabis lifestyle brand called Deuces 22, appropriately named after his NBA jersey number 22. Tyla also sported the same basketball jersey number 22 in high school. They intend to have 22 SKUs of cannabis, and there’s two of them. Noticeably John is into numerology and the belief in lucky numbers.
“Tyla is the youngest smartest entrepreneur, that I know. She decided to get into the cannabis business. what’s better than a father – daughter business. She’s the boss and I listen to her,” John said.
“Why wouldn’t you get into an industry that is brand new? There’s no grandfathering in. It’s all you can go as big as you want until someone tells you, you can’t. But like, you can kind of go as big as you want and can. So why not join?…especially because I love cannabis in all shapes and forms. I don’t discriminate. We need to be a part of this.” Tyla added.
“Tyla has many interests, like her dad, she likes real estate, fashion, travel. I just decided part of our lifestyle brand, should be this SKU of cannabis. So the first one we are coming out with, is pre-rolls, because Tyla says,‘a lot of people don’t have the skills to roll a joint or don’t understand what a great smoking experience would be, so we decided to travel and meet some great people.”
“We decided to go into business with one particular [company] Jack Herer [Group] in Northern California, and we’re working out how we get the best weed, A-quality in our pre-rolls, which would separate us beyond everyone else. I’m not talking bad about everyone else. We’ve tasted everyone else. I’m just talking great about our stuff.”
Tyla interjected, “Ours is just better. The convenience of a J and the history of the J, everyone understands that as soon as you get into smoking, you’re probably going to smoke a J first. I didn’t.”
“It’s community time with other people, it’s relaxing,” Tyla said.
They want to bring edibles, vapes and CBD topicals to name a few products they plan to launch under the Deuces 22 brand.
“There are so many benefits to CBD that I think everyone should have access to,” Tyla said.
“Cannabis is something that is really important to us. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t pigeonhole ourselves in one little section.”
They have also launched a merch line, which includes t-shirts with designs that say, “#VeganAF” or “SATIVA.”
“High quality. Premium level,” is what John said they would like Deuces 22 to be perceived as.
He continued, “You can live this life and have everything you want. You can. You don’t need a Bentley. You don’t need planes, jets. You don’t need anything. You need a simple life.”
“Like weed,” Tyla interrupts.
“Like weed,” John agreed.
John continued, “But if that’s a simple life, make sure that it’s the best. The cleanest. And make sure it’s what you’re supposed to get.”
They testify to searching for and trying strains high and low to find clean medicine.
“I feel like you have to put your money where your mouth is. If I’m talking about being healthy and promoting a healthy lifestyle, but then I’m selling product that has, ‘I don’t know what’ in it, that’s kind of really counterproductive and it’s not really going to help the industry. There’s a lot of misinformation about cannabis.That’s another part of Deuces. We want people to be educated and have the means to know. Sometimes people try to give you fun facts that are wrong, I want to spit back and say, No, this is what’s actually going on,” Tyla said.
They want their website to be a hub for information for all things cannabis, with tid bits of facts to help educate the public.
Tyla accurately pointed out, “There isn’t that much research in America, so we have to go to Canada and go to Israel, and different countries to find out more.”
First Cannabis experienceS
Tyla Salley’s First Smoke
“The first time I smoked was at a party, not a party, a kick back, with all my friends who were on the basketball team. I smoked out of a really big ice bong. I remember it burnt the crap out of my throat. We had an ice cream cake. Now I’m vegan, and lactose intolerant, but I didn’t care at the time. I just flipped the cake upside down and ate all the ice cream. Then I was sick and went home and ate a bunch of popsicles. That was the first time I smoked weed. It was great.”
John Salley’s First Smoke
“I was in Sacramento. I was in front of the Capitol. I was doing yoga on a really really good OG Kush. I slept. I usually don’t sleep that well, through the night. (Not anymore, now that I get my magnesium through trace minerals.) I slept till 10:45am, and I’m an early riser. I had no back pain and I realized that somebody has been lying about that apple tree. That was my entry into the cannabis world. [I was] much older, 36 years old. She [Tyla] is twenty years way ahead
NBA and Cannabis
“In the NBA, they treat cannabis how they treat it now, which is, keep it a secret. The propaganda on cannabis is tremendous. In the nineties or early 2000’s they finally put the Kabash on it, they never tested for it until then, when a couple of players got in trouble going through Canada or Puerto Rico. Since then, David Stern, who is no longer the commissioner, I hear he says it should be allowed back in if it’s legal. If it’s legal, it’s a safer alternative than alcohol. We know what happens to athletes when they engage in alcohol. It’s not a good outcome,” John said.
John continued, “When people engage in cannabis, they lay back and let their body heal, which is what most athletes should do. One of the most important things you should do as an athlete is rest your body. So, if this helps you… your body has an endocannabinoid system, if this helps that, this helps you heal, you’ll be a better athlete.”
“It’s a huge difference [between the way the NBA handles cannabis and the way the NFL treats cannabis]. The players that I know that consume cannabis, or used to play… I’m not saying anyone that plays now does (wink)… But the ones that smoked cannabis when I played, were the hardest guys to keep up with on the court. I’m not going to say any names. Stephen Jackson is never coming out of my mouth. [He was] a thoroughbred, just a straight up thoroughbred. He’s retired and still looks like a thoroughbred, and everybody used to talk about how his consumption of cannabis. Everybody I know who were supposedly the biggest smokers, are the ones who look the healthiest, who are the healthiest, who are the happiest, and who everybody wanted as a teammate,” John said.
“If baseball had it [cannabis], there would be more home runs,” John said if sports teams began to allow the use of cannabis.
When asked why they wanted to be in the cannabis industry Tyla said, “No one was stopping us.”
They were going to cannabis events, and going to dispensaries, hearing about the industry, they wanted to find their own place in the industry where they could be passionate about it.
Tyla professes her admiration for the female plant, “Love this plant. I love everything about it. I’m really into learning all about the benefits and learning what I can do for the industry, and how we can change it.”
John said, “The other part is, this is something that can become a family business. Being an American, being a capitalist, if you live in America and you’re not entrepreneurial you don’t get to complain. If you want something to be great, make it great. If you want the industry to stay a certain way or change a certain way, be that. We realized, some of the weed we tasted, they were going to go straight to putting into a pill because America is a pill popping culture. They’re going to find a way to put this into a pill, and really destroy this plant. Being a vegan, I want everything as much as possible to be organic.”
“Everything can live, without something else dying,” John says of being vegan.
He cares about the nutrients used on plants, making sure they really are organic, becoming owner in a company called PureCrop1.
“We don’t have to destroy the planet in order for us to have a nice car or to live in a nice place. We can literally take our Earth and show people how to live the lifestyle of love and love. If anybody smokes a Deuces 22 joint and has a conversation, it’s a love conversation. It’s kind of hard to argue, when you got good weed in your lungs,” John said.
On Being Vegan
“I was saying I was vegetarian since 1991. I went into microbiotics to change my lifestyle. My cholesterol was too high, and I was changing. I lied [to myself] for a bunch of years, thinking turkey wasn’t meat, and shrimp and fish wasn’t meat. I was saying I was a vegetarian eating cheese. I was a misinformed person. I was a misinformed meat eater. In 2007, I was doing a documentary for PETA about being a vegetarian. All their food, in the back, was vegan. A friend of mine said, ‘You gotta taste this food, it’s vegan,’ I said, ‘What’s vegan?’ I found this unbelievable food and realized I could live and not be a liar. That day I became vegan, and so did my house,” John said.
Tyla remembers the day clearly, “He came home and he was like, ‘So, we’re vegan now.’ I buy the food, so that’s what we’re doing.”
John finishes Tyla’s recollection, “I buy the food. I cook the food. You eat the food. We stay alive. We stay young. We do this as a family unit.”
There was a little push back from his household, John says, “But that’s to be expected, when you’re in a house full of females, and you’re the only male.”
“Eventually I got on board. It didn’t take very long. I watched a very crazy documentary that immediately flipped the switch. I was like, cool. Yep, no, I’m not going to engage in that. It’s not that deep. Also, I just don’t feel like you should be controlled by your taste buds,” Tyla said.
The documentary is called Earthlings, they highly recommend watching it. Tyla says, “It’s traumatizing.”
John pointed out, “If it’s traumatizing for you, imagine what it is for the animals.”
“Live and let live,” John preached.
They are very aware that there is a lack of vegan edibles available in the legal dispensary market, as most “vegan” edibles are rock candy. They suggest making your own vegan edibles with cannabis infused coconut oil.
They plan to launch hemp clothing, hair products, and all things cannabis and vegan.
On finding the right partner
In regards to the process of developing their brand, Tyla said it’s been, “Difficult. Tumultuous. Nothing comes easy. When you meet people, it’s a lot of learning. Something might feel like it works right then, but if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You can’t be upset about it. You have to keep moving. It’s been a lot of lying and a lot
Tyla reiterates a familiar sentiment within the business workings of the cannabis industry, how everyone thinks they have the best and they don’t, or don’t actually have the licenses to operate they say they have.
“It’s been a huge learning lesson. But it’s been good, because I feel like I’m dodging arrows. It’s a good thing, because I don’t want to be upset that I’m having misfortunes. Now I feel like I’m on a positive track, and surrounded by positive and trustworthy people. If you stay within your circle, you don’t have to worry about being crossed,”
For the story of how they met The Herer Group, visit our videos page at EdiblesMagazine.com
John and Tyla have observed and experienced the changes in the cannabis industry from Prop 215 to Prop 64.
“It’s not as cool,” John said.
Tyla maintains her med card, feeling like she will always use cannabis both medicinally and recreationally.
Hope for the future involves cannabis commercials, in the way alcohol companies can advertise, and cannabis being viewed as a healthier alternative than alcohol, rather than as a bad drug. They hope to see the rescheduling and Federal legalization of cannabis in all its forms.
“I want to walk up to Donald Trump, and go, ‘Yo, hit this,’ [he gestures passing a joint]. He don’t smoke weed or drink, and I want to be like, ‘Yo, nice red tie fam.” John joked. “I want to be able to do that with no problem.”
They’d like to see the stigma of marijuana dissipate and prefer to refer to it as it’s scientific term cannabis.
“My Republican friends smoke cannabis,” John points out, reinforcing that cannabis does not discriminate.
John says it’s a myth that cannabis is something that makes you have less control. “People have always smoked.”
What was his favorite team to play on?
“The one that paid on the 1st and 15th. That was my favorite team,” John playfully joked. “I wanted to be in the NBA, when you’re sitting there and going to get drafted, you never know. I was never a fan of a team, I just wanted to be an NBA ball player. So when I got on Detroit, that became my favorite team, when I got traded to Miami, that became my favorite team. When I left Toronto, and owned my rights, and I decided to have my rights go to the Chicago Bulls, that became my favorite team. Then I was on the Lakers that was my favorite team. I totally lived in the now of each of those teams,” John said.
“If you would have asked me, who were my favorite team as teammates? We do things in cliques anyways. I was blessed enough to have Glen Rice and Brian Shaw on my team twice, Dennis Rodman as a teammate twice. I just like the guys I hung out with, and I like everybody. There wasn’t a player I didn’t like. If he didn’t like hanging around me, he obviously didn’t like having fun.”
His favorite team to root for now, “Is the one that’s winning. I like Kevin Durant, period. I like Lebron James. I like all of Golden State. I wanted to play for Warriors after I finished playing for the Lakers and at that time St. Jean (GM and head Coach of the Warriors at the time) couldn’t get it through, and there was a deal with Seattle that they had to sign at the time. And then I just decided to go into television, because I was only going to play where I wanted to play,” John said.
“You shouldn’t have retired,” Tyla said to her famous dad as we conclude the interview.
Learn more at Deuces22.com
B. Le Grand