When the Biogenesis news broke letting us know that we were subject to a whole new round of PED talk in baseball no one was surprised. Now that the news breaks that Biogenesis supplied athletes from other sports, there's still nothing to get surprised about. PED use is in the NBA. Let's not pretend it isn't.
PED use is rampant in sports you aren't getting paid millions in such as track and field. You think it isn't rampant in a sport where you can make 200-300 million dollars in your career? If you're a big man that needs to add muscle, and adding 20 lbs of it means the difference between 50 million dollars and being out of the league?
In a sport where athleticism is radically more important than it is in baseball?
LeBron James and Greg Oden may not have been doing PEDs since high school, but they sure have all the traits of a couple guys who were. People once laughed about conspiracy theorists posting pictures of Barry Bonds head size changing, but the same photos now pop up with Dwyane Wade in them.
Are these guys guilty? Who knows. If I had a gun to my head and someone said if you don't successfully guess a player on PEDs in the NBA on the first try I'm pulling the trigger then my response would be LeBron James. Up until Rose took over a year to recover from an ACL injury, I'd have put him pretty high up on my list too.
The thing is, even though I hate [but have amazing respect for] LeBron, I would hate the news to break that he's on PEDs.
I don't want the NBA to turn into MLB where the yearly PED round up is a massive story of fallen heroes. I don't want his rings [and the results of the NBA for a few years] to be invalidated. I'd rather not find out Jordan was on PEDs if he was.
The thing is, if no one is going to really clean up the sport, then I'd rather just ignore the fact that it's dirty [like every other sport is also dirty in this way], not make a big deal of it, and enjoy it anyway. The only way to clean up a sport from PEDs is to take away the financial incentive to use them. Make any positive test immediately void your contract, remove you permanently from the NBA, and allow every team to go after previous payments.
Make it so a single PED positive test means you went from millionaire athlete to bankrupt and can no longer play in the sport at all. It may not even be legal to go that far, but that's what it would take and even that might not be enough to stop guys who are desperate to win.
A solution like that isn't coming. Without a players union, track and field has the harshest penalties, less financial incentive, and they still have no shot at stopping people. What odds do US team sport have when the players union is stuck straddling a tough line between protecting players who are cheating and protecting those that aren't?
So at this point, I'd keep going like I'm going if I'm the NBA. If you know you can't solve the underlying problem just hope to avoid the perception problem. Don't stand strong and proud and pronounce how clean the league is, because you don't want to set yourself up on a high horse waiting for the news to break. Just try to stay out of the news and don't go digging more than you have to.