NBA Steroids

International anti-doping official says NBA testing has gaps

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It’s kind of been assumed that the NBA was a place where steroids and other performance enhancing drugs were not an issue. We picture bodybuilders and football players and the Barry Bonds of the world — guys who bulked up — as PED users. Not long, thin basketball players.

But to suggest that drugs that would help a player workout harder and recover faster wouldn’t help a basketball player is preposterous. To think that in a league where guys don’t blink about flying to Germany for special blood treatment on their knees wouldn’t consider PEDs is naïve.

That has been the thrust of a series of stories Henry Abbott has done at ESPN and TrueHoop. And if you think it can’t be done because the NBA tests guys, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency would like to have a word with you. He did with Abbott for ESPN.

“They’ve got gaps in their program, between what they do and what we suggest would be better,” David Howman said…

“They do not feel they have such an issue as the other major leagues and therefore haven’t addressed it in quite the same way,” Howman said. “I just think you’ve got to be very careful when you start saying performance-enhancing drugs are not beneficial in any sport, because you’re going to be proven wrong. And you’ll be proven wrong when you’re not expecting it.”

The NBA did not comment.

Changes to drug testing in the NBA — specifically for human growth hormone — was one of the issues sort of put to the side at the end of the lockout and the CBA negotiations (along with changing the draft age and more). It is something the league and players union would have to negotiate.

So far, finding PEDs in the NBA has not really been a serious issue. But when the motivation is the money, fame and lifestyle the NBA brings, do you really think a lot of people wouldn’t use them to make it?