Updated: Jul 9, 2020
From champagne magnate to pot power player, Isiah Thomas is the latest NBA star taking on a leading role at a major cannabis business.
As a key leader of the legendary Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” crew, NBA superstar Isiah Thomas won championships, set records, and repeatedly made history as one of the greatest basketball players to ever take the court. But, now he's making history in other ways. As of this week, he is officially the new CEO of One World Pharma (OWPC), a major cannabis producer in Colombia.
Since retiring in 1994, Thomas has become a major business magnate. In 2015 he acquired Cherulin Champagne, renowned bubbly biz founded in 1788 that he has steered to skyrocketing success. At present, Thomas is the sole owner of Cherulin Champagne.
Now, Thomas has taken over the publicly traded One World Pharma, where he's applying his knowledge of vineyards to OWPC’s massive weed operation in Colombia.
One World Pharma holds four licenses in Colombia to create and distribute legal cannabis and describes itself as “a fully licensed global supplier of hemp-derived ingredients for use in manufacturing of Medical, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Over the Counter (OTC) products.”
Thomas told Forbes he was drawn to the opportunity after a doctor wanted to prescribe cannabis to his cancer-stricken mother some years back.
“What dawned on me,” Thomas said, “was that it wasn't like this was happening on the street corner or back alley. This was actually happening in the hospital, where it was being medically prescribed.”
Unfortunately, his mom was of a generation that thought marijuana was a dangerous drug. She told her physician in no uncertain terms, “Well, I’m not smoking no reefer!”
Tragically, Thomas’s mother lost her battle with cancer, as did his father and brother. Surviving those heartbreaks further motivated Thomas to consider the healing power of pot.
“Eyes have been opened,” Thomas noted in regards to both himself and society. “As time progresses and medical discovery continues and we understand the importance of this endocannabinoid system, I think it's going to be one of the biggest discoveries that we've found inside of our body in a totally life-changing, impactful way of treating, living, and being. I want to be a part of that.”
Thomas is not the only NBA star to jump into the cannabis game. Al Harrington, who played on a number of teams — including the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, and the Golden State Warriors — has experienced significant success with his brand Viola. Former Laker and major cannabis advocate Matt Barnes is also launching a brand called "Swish" in partnership with Seven Leaves, a Sacramento pot company.
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