NBA players on PEDs? Of course they are

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: chicago bulls, nba, peds, steroids

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  • Bill Simmons has said that he's just waiting for the Suns' "great training staff" to be exposed as a PED clinic.

    In your "gun to the head" scenario, I would guess Wade. He's said himself that he had an utterly crappy diet before he started dating Gabrielle Union. It's hard to believe he could be as ripped and athletic as he is without some help. Westbrook never having missed a game at any level of competition until last year's playoffs is suspicious too.

    I don't necessarily advocate PED use, but I'm not a crusader either. Just for the heck of it, I'd like to see the NBA shrug and say "yeah, lots of our player juice. If the cops want to get them on drug charges, that's their business. Meanwhile, we're just going to keep making this money."

  • Good post, Doug. It's a question that I've pondered for years ... and I, too, am not certain I want to know the answer. NBA players and PEDs are not synonymous, and that's a good thing.

    HOWEVER, PEDs are equal to cheating … so I'd rather know the truth, especially when possibly a large portion of NBA players are NOT taking PEDs.

    The most obvious indicators to PED taking -- especially with long, lean athletes like NBA players -- is sudden muscle growth, almost going from an ectomorph to a mesomorph. Biologically, it's nearly impossible unless aided significantly by drugs.

    Hence, you have many NBA athletes who haven't really changed that much physically except some 'muscle maturity' that comes with all that training and growing out of that teenage physique. D Rose, Pippen and Jordan, for example ... all remain/remained quite lean when they got into their 20s, but also added some muscle.

    But did they suddenly pack on 20 pounds of lean mass like a bodybuilder (all are 'juicers')? Nope. But guys like LeBron James have ... and Wade. The before/after pictures are pretty telling.

    Even a player like Thaddeus Young. I laughed hard when I read that "Since the end of the 2012 season, Young has added 19 pounds to his 6'8'' frame and now weighs 234 pounds." Thaddeus Young had next to zero body fat before AND after this 19-pound transformation ... so he basically raised his hand and said, "Yep, PEDs are my best friend." And guess what? He got rewarded with monster contract for a decent NBA player ... so the incentives are huge.

  • In reply to Curious E:

    PEDs have gotten so evolved that you can no longer assume that they only result in increased muscle bulk. They can now make you leaner and faster and a better overall athlete.

  • Another PED-probably-behind-the-curtain story, from today: "Barnes Bulks Up for Small Ball"

    "Harrison Barnes wore his layer of new muscle in Las Vegas last week like a superhero wears his costume. He tried to act natural, like nothing had changed since the last time we saw him. But it’s hard to hide the obvious, especially when it’s 10 to 15 pounds of new muscle."

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2013/07/29/barnes-bulks-up-for-small-ball/?ls=nbahpsplit1

  • Yeah I prefer they ignor it and pretend it doesn't exist. Grand standing like they have done in Baseball and Bike racing is stupid and hurts the sport more than it helps. I prefered baseball with McGwire and Sosa and other super humans chasing long ball records. I prefer Basketball with LeBron. Is it wrong to use PEDs? Yeah, but they aren't wonder drugs you can't go from Tyrus Thomas to LeBron James by taking them. They can help take you to the next level but you have to have the skill to begin with. You're not going to stop them so you might as well do your best to ignore them and enjoy the game.

  • A couple years ago a search of google and the only mention of PEDs in the NBA came from Derrick, I guess he back tracked later on these comments (probably because Reggie or a league official made a stink about it):

    Rose was asked the following question by ESPN the Magazine, “If 1 equals ‘What are PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs)’? and 10 equals ‘Everybody’s Juicing’…How big of an issue is illegal enhancing in your sport?”

    In response, Rose said, “Seven. It’s huge, and I think we need a level playing field, where nobody has that advantage over the next person.”

  • Look, we know. PED's = moh money(In Living Color Wayans reference), moh money, moh money! Not to mention increased ability for already superior athletes.

    There is so much money at stake now as compared to the past when top players in the game made around $2 Mill per year pre-Jordan. Granted, with inflation what five or six times would be around $11 Mil for top stars.(When in reality today they make far more then that along with many other non-stars). Yet 90% of the league was making anywhere from $1.25 Mil or less.

    Today there's just so much money to be made. Of course a lot of guys are going to do what it takes, as in cheat, to get it.

    And once again we will blame labor, albeit rich as hell labor, and place the focus solely on them rather then greedy management who made a mint with "Pump yu ahhp" McGwire, Sosa etc. Not to mention a joke, on the take "media" who went along with the ratings ride. As well as an out of touch grandstanding congress who hardly solved the problem "Sammy Souser, Mack McKeyer" please step forwerd to take the oath"

    Knee jerk reactions aside, guys are not going to get banned for their careers or all their contracts wiped out. That's going form one extreme of enabling or ignoring to the other.Missed seasons without pay would be a major frickin' wake up call. However as baseball is headed towards perhaps first offense an entire season missed without pay. Hopefully you add a "zero tolerance" meaning severe consequences such as Second offense two years out with no pay. Three strikes and your out. Banned from the game(NBA, MLB) for life.

    That serious money taken away along with the stigma of being banned for seasons at a time would help tremendously to shut the PED's down. Will it happen? Hard to say. Too much desire for an ultimate product with ultimate products profits with no morality involved in post cold war "we won any thing goes" capitalism. I'm not counting on long term reform as in ethical games. Not hardly.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Don't think that's enough.

    The thing is, losing a season of money is big, but it doesn't stop guys who are likely making massive more bank from taking the risk.

  • According to a report, years ago a reporter asked a number of Olympic athletes if there was an undetectable drug that would enable them to win Olympic Gold but would kill them within a year, would they take it? Quite a few said they would!

    That is sick, is it not? We are talking about entertainment here, not finding a cure for cancer or bringing world peace! A lot of humans need to reevaluate their priorities.

    These PEDs can kill -- Lyle Alzedo comes to mind. What a waste for a little short-lived glory.

    But in the short term, cheaters often get ahead. How many Tour de Frances did Armstrong win? Well, he finally got caught, but he had a long run as the best in the world.

    What about the guys he beat? Getting a medal 10 years late because the officials finally caught a cheater means little compared to the emotion of the moment.

    If the NBA did have proof that a star, who won the NBA ring, had used illegal PEDs, would it strip the team of the title? Or would it cover up the scandal? You probably can figure that out from how it deals with incompetent refs.

    What about the bookies in Vegas? How would that get fixed? It might destroy the betting on these events -- which would be good, but it won't happen.

    There is a huge amount of money involved in all of this, and it skews priorities. It's hard to feel this makes for a wholesome society.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    If you could take an undetectable drug, make tens of millions of dollars and be the subject of fame and adoration for a 10-year period, but die by age 50, would you not consider it? You'd set up generations of offspring for life, live large and fast and die young.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Roman,

    Honestly, I suppose I would consider it -- briefly. But I would reject it. Many famous people are not happy, and many rich people are not happy. That's why a lot of them OD and suicide.

    How many celebs have you heard of that lost kids to drugs and other wild, risky behavior? So much for setting up generations for life!

    How about setting them up for eternal life in paradise by teaching them to love God and love their neighbor? I have heard that eternity is a very long time. And you won't have to destroy your own health to do it.

    A basketball career is not worth one's health. If Rose has stayed clear of the drugs, I commend him more for that than for his considerable basketball skills and work ethic. Plus he improves society a bit when he talks about it. He might just save someones life.

  • To remember what normal human athletes look like, all we have to do is watch some NBA games from the 70s and 80s .
    Today's NBA players don't look the way they do just from weight training and protein shakes.

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