by Gary Gaffney, MD, Steroid Nation
Incredible as it sounds, an NBA player -- inactive now since 2006 -- would sit out the first 10 games of 2008-9 if he is added to a roster even as a last ditch option. Considering the almost imperceptible steroid problem in the NBA, it might be more amazing a player tested positive for the drug.
Darius Miles, who last saw action in the 2006 NBA season before a career-ending injury throttled him, is being considered by the desperate Memphis Grizzlies. However Miles still owes the NBA 10 games, as he continues on the suspended list for an 'unnamed' steroids policy violation. To Hoops World:
Darius Miles signed a minimum-salary contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports on Saturday.Steroid use appears to be rare in the NBA. The record indicates only three players earned suspensions due to violation of the NBA's steroid policy (despite this incorrect answer online):
Citing an anonymous source, the web site said that the Grizzlies inked the 27-year-old Miles after considering D-League options to fill an open roster spot. Memphis had room after trading point guard Javaris Crittenton to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
Miles, who reportedly also worked out for the Los Angeles Clippers, has not played an NBA regular-season game since April 15, 2006, thanks to a right knee injury.
In fact, Miles was waived by the Portland Trail Blazers last season when an independent doctor deemed his injury career-ending. The Blazers, as a result, were allowed to remove the $18 million that was owed to Miles over two seasons from their salary cap.
The ruling allowed Portland to become a threat in the summer of 2010, when a bevy of superstars - including LeBron James - hit the free-agent market.
However, according to the report, the Blazers again would be saddled with the money if Miles plays in 10 games this season. The forward will be suspended for the first 10 games he is on a team's active roster after violating the league's anti-doping policy.
The third overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Clippers, Miles was drafted out of high school and has averaged 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in parts of six seasons with three teams.
He spent training camp with the Boston Celtics this season but was waived before the start of the campaign.
* Matt Geiger, 2001 Phildelphia 76ers646608
* Don MacLean, 2000 Miami Heat
* Soumaila Samake, 2002, LA Lakers
Like many pro athletes the basketball players blamed supplements:
Los Angeles Lakers backup center Soumaila Samake was suspended for five games by the NBA on Tuesday for violating the league's steroids policy.Charles Barkley didn't think the rather anemic McLean juiced up:
Samake, 24, a native of Mali in his third NBA season, will not be paid during the suspension, which began with Tuesday night's game against Atlanta.
The league and the NBA Players Association do not disclose details regarding the testing or treatment of players in the program, but Samake issued a statement saying he had taken a dietary supplement that contained nandrolone, a substance banned by the NBA.
Charles Barkley has the most famous two-liner about steroids and the NBA. When journeyman Don MacLean tested positive in 2000, Barkley stuck up for the former UCLA star.NBA players apparently never adopted 'roids and other juice into the culture. There was a question of Memphis forward Chris Anderson's use of 'roids, however he was booted from the league on his first public violation, which indicates something hard like heroin or amphetamines.
He tried to, anyway.
"Don MacLean?" Barkley said on TNT, "I've seen Don MacLean naked, and he doesn't use steroids."
MacLean was 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, not exactly brimming with an A-list, body-building frame. He spent most of his nine-year career working through injuries after winning the Most Improved Player Award his sophomore season.
A guy with that build couldn't possibly be on steroids, Barkley joked, but he easily could have reached an opposite conclusion.
Congress investigated NBA steroids by interviewing Juan Dixon. Juan Dixon? Because he knew the drive to Capital Hill?
Later, The Hill dressed down David Stern, who redid the steroid policy to implement a huge 10 game suspension for a first AAS violation.
If Miles used steroids, it certainly hasn't been broadcast widely. The use of anabolic steroids seems not to be in the NBA culture. As a Laker blogger attests, most trainers have to drag their players into the weight room:
With all the recent hubub of steroids in baseball, it's not surprising that the NBA wants to proactively deflect any potential suspension of steroid use amongst its players. A recent article by Marc Stein, Stern On Steroids: 'It's Not a Problem We Think We Have,' talks to a couple of NBA players around the league who state that steroids are not really an issue. These players explain that basketball players want to remain nimble, quick, lean - they aren't looking to pack on muscle, muscle that will only render them a quick slower and reduce their overall stamina.Although some fans suggest NBA players could abuse HGH, we know of no NBA player to abuse growth hormone (unless naturally from their own mutant pituitary). The NBA players association will not even hear of HGH testing. Considering the unimpressive record of the NBA and PEDs, there is likely no reason to implement HGH testing at this point...unless the drug improves free throw accuracy.
Memphis' Shane Battier echoed Massenburg's assertion that steroids are unlikely to appeal to NBA players – now or in the future – when weight training appeals to so few.
"Something you've got to understand is that basketball players just don't like to lift weights," Battier said. "Most of us would rather be out playing ball. We all grew up either on the playground or in the gym. If we're going to spend time working on our game, we're going to be on the court."