As part of an ongoing partnership, former NBA player Al Harrington’s cannabis brand, Viola, and former NBA player Allen Iverson have teamed up to release the latest strain in the Iverson Collection: Iverson ’01, named after the year Iverson won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Iverson and Viola had partnered previously in 2021 to launch the Iverson Collection, a line of exclusive cannabis and non-cannabis products such as exclusive cannabis strains and various merchandise. Through that partnership, Iverson and Harrington also worked together for Harrington’s wellness CBD company, rePlay. The first product launched in the Iverson Collection was the Indica-dominant strain named “’96,” a reference to the year Iverson was drafted into the NBA. The non-cannabis merchandise includes t-shirts, hoodies, grinders, lighters, basketballs and more.
“Following the success of ’96, the Iverson Collection peaks high performance with the latest ’01 indica-dominant hybrid strain,” reads the description on Viola’s website. “Marking the year that the NBA Hall of Fame, Allen Iverson, was named MVP, ’01 is a euphoric variety with signature hops that puts it to the top of the roster of game-winning highs. Recognized for its super frosty mugs, dark shades of purple and citrusy scent, ’01 is unmatched.”
Iverson and Harrington brought the Iverson Collection to Pennsylvania in early September 2023, bringing Iverson back to the city he spent the majority of his playing career in and became a household name and NBA legend. In July 2023, the pair brought the strain to the New Jersey market after being introduced in Michigan in 2022. As part of the brand’s rollout in Pennsylvania, Viola cannabis products will be available at RISE dispensaries throughout the state before expanding to other storefronts.
“In the same way Allen impacted the culture, we’re going to continue to impact the cannabis industry,” said Harrington. “We’re going to keep pushing boundaries. I’m honored to have Allen on board. We want to continue to inspire others and encourage people of color to participate in the cannabis space.”
“I’ve had a lot of people approach me with business opportunities, but this one with Al was different,” said Iverson at the time. “After seeing how devoted he is to this business, and him educating me on how beneficial the plant is, it just felt right. I’m excited to be a part of it. Together, we’re going to change the game.”
Harrington launched the Viola brand in 2011 while he was still playing in the NBA. The company is named after Harrington’s grandmother, who suffered from glaucoma. Harrington convinced her to try cannabis to help with the pain and was inspired to start the company after seeing firsthand how cannabis helped her. The brand’s mission is to “Viola’s mission is to increase equity and ensure black and brown people are afforded the opportunity to be a part of a fast-growing industry that has historically left them disenfranchised.”
“Our mission is to bring opportunities to the area. We started by investing millions of dollars to turn a vacant building into our facility, and we’re continuing to improve the landscape by building out Detroit’s cannabis business,” said Harrington.
Harrington has confirmed Viola is a non-plant touching company, which is necessary to accommodate its investor base, but Harrington believes Viola can serve as a starting point for other athletes and celebrities to get into the legal cannabis market and launch their own branded cannabis products.
“LeBron has Lobos, right? They should be able to do it with cannabis as well,” said Harrington. “And I think that’s gonna happen sooner than later. And hopefully they use me as the bridge to launch these brands.”
This content was originally published here.