It was a shock to all of Rip City when Portland Trail Blazers radio analyst Antonio Harvey was let go by the organization, alongside television analysts Mike Rice and Mike Barrett. Harvey, a former Trail Blazer himself, joined long-time radio play-by-play announcer Brian Wheeler on the airwaves in 2005.
Over the next 11 years, he would solidify himself as rush-hour regular for those catching an early game in their cars on the way home from their 9 to 5. Come the start of the 2016-17 season, Wheeler was calling games solo.
So where did Harvey go? What happened to him? How is he doing?
“I’m better than I’ve ever been,” Harvey recently told Oregon Sports News.
“Physically I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. Mentally I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. My family’s in a better place than we’ve ever been, so life is good.”
There’s a lot for Harvey to be happy about in his post-basketball career. Shortly before the Trail Blazers’ broadcast switch-up announcement, Harvey made his entry into the newly legalized marijuana industry. He was among a small group to receive the state’s first recreational marijuana licenses. Today, he shares ownership of Terra Mater Farms with his wife and brother in-law, and is looking to expand into the marijuana business consulting sector soon based on the experience gleaned from his time developing the farm.
Why was this the logical next step for Harvey? What were the motives for entering the marijuana industry? Is basketball still in ‘Tone’s future?
In part one of a two-part interview, Harvey discusses his post-Blazers marijuana business with Oregon Sports News. Here is that discussion.
Oregon Sports News (OSN): Why did you decide to get into the marijuana industry?
Antonio Harvey (AH): For me, it’s the pioneering spirit. You look at where this industry is today and the opportunities that exist, not to mention that it’s helped so many people with so many different things. I think it was just a combination of opportunity and understanding and it’s just kind of coming together right at the right moment.
OSN: So it all just fell together. It sounds like it was a mix between the moral and business side of it?
OSN: What do you enjoy most about your new career?
AH: I think it’s being home with my family if I gotta be honest with you. The truth of the matter is, the NBA schedule is a grind. It’s a grind on me, it’s a grind on my wife, it’s a grind on my kids. Now, I don’t have that grind anymore. I get to come home and play Xbox or Wii with my kids when I want to. I can dictate my schedule, and that to me has probably been the most joyous part out of all of this; just being able to have the control to do the things I want to do.
OSN: Do you think that there’s still a taboo in the industry despite marijuana being legal in the state of Oregon?
AH: I don’t think in this state there’s much of a taboo. The belief though, on a national level, there are still some people who are very caught up in what we were taught marijuana and cannabis is 50 years ago. But the truth of the matter is, research shows over and over again, that of all the vices you could have, this one seems to be the least destructive. Plus, there’s medical gains to be had from it. It’s why people go to west wendover to visit dispensaries, after all. People are also increasingly heading online to find these sorts of products from websites like www.leaf2go.co which indicates that the stigma surrounding marijuana use is dissipating.
OSN: Definitely, definitely. Other things that are used, like Vicodin and a big list of other things that are prescribed, they can be addictive and have other side effects, so I definitely understand that.
AH: Exactly, I mean, for what you get from a Vicodin or any other prescribed drug — and I’m not anti-prescribed drugs, but I do believe that some drugs are over-prescribed in this society. Cannabis is a natural remedy to a lot of what we get artificial prescriptions for, artificial drugs for. This is why many have turned to things like the shiskaberry strain of cannabis in an attempt to combat stress, depression, pain, and other ailments.
OSN: Being that both you and former-Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson are both in the marijuana industry, do you two have any kind of connection with this whole thing or are you both just kind of doing your own stuff?
AH: Well, we are both definitely doing our own stuff but, you know, I’m pulling for him and I’m certain he’s pulling for me. We haven’t collaborated yet, which is not to say we won’t, we just haven’t yet. I think we’re both in different stages of our companies, so it’s hard to focus on a collaboration when I’m focused almost exclusively on getting this thing up and running and going in the right way and running in the right direction we want it to go.
OSN: I once read before that you do not smoke marijuana yourself; is there any reason for that?
AH: I’m not a regular smoker. It was never my way of relaxing. You know, I was more of a wine and maybe a drink every now and again kind of guy. But I’ve actually, I probably smoked more in the last year than I did in my entire life up to this point.
OSN: Going back to the other side of things: Do you ever see yourself getting back into basketball as maybe a coach or something like that?
AH: I would love to coach at a high school or a younger level. I have no desire to get back into the analyst game. Not that I didn’t love the job, but I’ve been home now for almost seven months, and I never want to have to leave my family again.
OSN: I’m glad to hear that. Is there anything else you’d like to add in addition to that?
AH: You know, I’m just happy for the opportunity. I know a lot of people wondered where I was going and what was happening, and I just want people to know that I’m fine. In fact, I’m better than I’ve ever been. Physically I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, mentally I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, my family’s in a better place than we’ve ever been, so life is good.
Check out Part 2 of our discussion with Harvey where he breaks down cannabis and its potential involvement in the NBA!