NBA Great John Salley: 'I Always Had A Gun'

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

The NBA hasn’t shown itself to be fond of firearms. From the league penalizing players to players and coaches pushing for gun control, there’s a definite vibe that the NBA and the Second Amendment aren’t on the same wavelength.


Then you get John “Spider” Salley.

The former Laker, Bull, and Piston (among others) accomplished a lot in his career. Four NBA championship rings in three different decades and two different millenniums. No one else can say all of that and only a few can come close.

Now, Salley played in some rough places back in the day, but as a player with pretty big contracts, he could afford private security.

That didn’t stop him from staying strapped.

In a recent interview with DJ Vlad, four-time NBA champion John Salley openly shared his perspective on carrying a gun during his time with the Detroit Pistons, shedding light on a controversial viewpoint regarding personal security and the American gun culture. Salley went on to highlight the cultural aspect, stating:

“When I was in Detroit, I always had a gun. Even though I was with my brothers and we had security, I always carried my gun.”

So, for some people, we’re Americans, we feel safer with guns… This is the culture – People feel safer with guns.” (0:20)

Salley acknowledged that despite having security and being part of a team, he felt safer carrying a gun during his tenure in Detroit. He expressed that while he might not necessarily consider it the right choice, he felt mentally prepared to handle potential adverse situations.


This isn’t the first time Salley has associated gun culture with Americans, as he previously defended Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s gun-related celebration, linking such actions to deeply embedded aspects of American culture.

Now, no one should get their political advice from a professional athlete who hasn’t shown you good reason to take them seriously on the subject.

Salley may or may not be the exception to that rule. I honestly don’t know. I remember his playing days well, but that’s literally it. His abilities on the court don’t translate to competence in other aspects of life.

But I will say that I understand where he’s coming from.

Detroit hasn’t had a great reputation for a very long time, and I’m not just talking about the Bad Boys era with the Pistons.

Even with security, Salley’s decision to carry makes perfect sense to me. Even if I had a SEAL Team protecting me and mine 24 hours a day, I’d still carry, and for the same reasons as Salley.

And again, the former NBA stand out is right about the role of guns in American culture. Whether anti-gunners like it or not, guns are here and they’re part of the very fabric of our nation. You’re not going to just wish them away, no matter what you try to do.


Now, the truth is that someone with the money for private security is also likely to be someone who can meet literally every requirement anti-gunners want to lay down in order to have a gun.

But where there’s a difference is that Salley opted to carry a gun when he had protection.

The bulk of us don’t have that option. We can’t outsource our security to any degree, which is why guns are part of American culture. We don’t hope for the best, we prepare for the worst and then dare it to come at us.

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