It’s time to call a timeout on overpriced, mid-grade bud with a celebrity name slapped on the side.

Instead, rotate in the new strain, Gary Payton, and dominate the sesh.

Just in time for the NBA preseason hype, the worlds of cannabis and pro sports are uniting like never before in the bestselling new variety from the global cannabis brand Cookies.

This isn’t some crass copyright violation, either—like The Game’s 2018 joke strain “LA Bron James.” Payton’s actually in on this one.

Fifty-one-year-old Oakland, CA, native and NBA All-Star Payton licensed his name and likeness rights this year to Cookies, also based in Oakland.

The 2006 NBA Finals Champion and 1996 NBA Defensive Player of the Year’s face screams off of eighth-ounce flower bags sold at licensed California retailers and delivery services this week statewide.

The going rate? Up to $70 per eighth. The stuff sells out in hours.

“This is like the Wheaties box for the weed game and we were the first to pop it off,” said Cookies founder and rapper Berner, in a July release. “What makes it best is the bag behind it is so fire.”

Player vs. Herb Match

Indeed, exotic herb connoisseurs hunt small, artisanal releases of Gary Payton from Melrose to Humboldt this fall because the actual flower proves as legit as the baller’s record.

Nicknamed “The Glove,” Payton’s a nine-time All-Star point guard who could frustrate Michael Jordan in his prime. The Glove is ambidextrous, terrific at assists, and a notorious trash-talker ranked third in most technical fouls of all time.

Keeping up with the man—his dried, cured cannabis flowers present as a single, dense, glistening, riotously multicolored, 3.5-gram nug. It was so beautiful, it felt like a crime to break it up.

Waves of classic Cookie dank aroma—scrumptious, sweet, creamy, berry—washed out of the bag, perfuming every room in which it sat. Heads will call this “loud.”

Exceedingly high-THC, intensely hybridized Gary Payton electrifies as it sedates—generating a time-warping mental gauze that teleports you 180 minutes into the future, and over to some munchies. For real.

The Y and Snowman

How did this particular strain get associated with the Seattle Supersonics star? Fandom.

The Cookie fam are basketball heads and streetballers since childhood. When grower/breeder Kenny Powers crossed two coveted Cookies strains—The Y and Snowman—offspring number 20 stood out as the best.

Exotic new Cookies strain Gary Payton boxes out the competition. (David Downs/Leafly)

“That Gary Payton,” Powers said, shaking his head in disbelief. Fellow grower Jigga, Berner, and their inner circle concurred. No surprise, really, but one of Berner’s friends knew one of Payton’s friends. An Oakland meeting ended in a licensing deal. “The vibe was right and we both decided to change the game together,” said Berner.

“[Cannabis] is accepted more in this generation,” Payton said in a recent video.

First teased in May on social media, controlled releases of the hybrid throughout the summer have generated strange, long, early morning lines of heads at Cookies’ two Los Angeles stores and other drop locations.

You can find fake bags for sale online from illicit market counterfeiters—imitation is the highest form of flattery.

We quickly forked over $70 for the real deal at Outside Lands’ Grasslands. It proved to be money well spent.

Cookies, Alien Labs, C.R.A.F.T. Collective, IC Collective, and a few other California brands have created a new class of cannabis: Something akin to fine whiskey that you keep in special weed fridges and only break out for folks that truly get it.

Next up, Gary Payton comes to Cookies-affiliated adult use stores in Michigan.


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