For a long time now, doping tests have been a subject of controversy in the NBA, and many people were questioning themselves why there have been no such cases throughout time, even though, compared to the European leagues, the players from the NBA are playing FIFTY TWO games more than any other basketball player on this planet… this is crazy just to think about, because it’s hard to compete at such a high level night in and night out for that many games. Just imagine, you have a game in New York on Friday on a back-to-back road trip, then, after the game, you take a shower and go right to the airport to catch the plane… next day, right where you left off. You finish the second game from the back-to-back, you have two, maybe three days of “rest”, then you’re hitting the hardwood again.
The NBA is craving for show and viewership, and even if the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) discussed the subject of reducing the number of games in the regular season, nothing happened until now. It’s hard to reduce them if you take a look at the business side of the things… less games mean less views, less views mean less money, less money means that there is a problem, because we all know what today’s society is all about.
So, returning to the doping tests in the NBA, it is interesting that only 9 players tested positive for the use of amphetamine or some forms of steroids until now in the history of NBA – Rashard Lewis, O.J. Mayo, Soumaila Samake, Don MacLean, Matt Geiger, Hedo Turkoglu, Lindsey Hunter, Darius Miles and Joakim Noah. That’s quite a small group of guys, and it makes you wonder. George Karl, the legend coach who retired years ago, wrote an autobiography book, named “Furious George”. In that book, besides his personal visions on some players that he had coached during the years, George Karl speaks about the “drug problem” that the NBA has currently.
“I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs—like steroids, human growth hormone, and so on. It’s obvious some of our players are doping. How are some guys getting older—yet thinner and fitter? How are they recovering from injuries so fast? Why the hell are they going to Germany in the offseason? I doubt it’s for the sauerkraut.
“More likely it’s for the newest, hard-to-detect blood boosters and PEDs they have in Europe. Unfortunately, drug testing always seems to be a couple steps behind drug hiding. Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test.”
This particular quote says a lot about what is going through the league from this point of view. Yes, you can say that these are just speculations and theories, because nothing was given to the large public in terms of straight evidences, but if you take a deeper look at things and you analyze the human body and you see how much effort a players puts in one season, how his body grows from one year to another, you will start to question yourself. However, doping cases were present in a lot of sports and it’s slowly beginning “to be a part of the game”, ironically speaking.
Despite of the fact that, not only George Karl spoke about this matter, as there were some other former players that said the NBA might have a problem with the PED tests, there is not a single test to confirm that, and the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, said that it’s only chatter when it comes to this. He also stated after he saw what George Karl had to say that “Other than what George Karl wrote in his book, there is no chatter whatsoever in the league. Obviously, many reporters are in this room who cover the NBA; presumably if they thought there was an issue, they would be writing about it.”
We’re not quite sure if he actually believes what he says, but what else could he say, as long as he is the piece who is running the whole puzzle.
From my point of view, there are clearly players that are using all kinds of performance enhancing drugs, even the superstars… or especially the superstars? The difference between the number of games played in the United States and in the Europe is too darn big, and even if they are the best athletes in the world conquering in the NBA, they are humans, and the human body also has its limits. I have a feeling that if there will be some doping tests in the NBA, the prestige and the notoriety of the league will suffer a major blow, and that’s why the Commissioner is not willing to make a step towards the issue.