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NBA Drug Policy

NBA Drug Policy

While professional athletes in the world of sports getting caught for PEDs is nothing new, this frequency is unprecedented in the NBA. In the history of the league, no more than two players have ever tested positive in the same season. And there’s still more than 70 games to go in this one.

What do these banned substances do?

  • Ipamorelin, the drug Chandler was tested positive for using, is a growth hormone that helps decrease body fat and increase lean muscle.
  • Ayton tested positive for using diuretics, which increase urine flow. They’re banned by the league because they’re often used to try and mask doping in sport.
  • Collins tested positive for GHRP-2, which helps increase food intake.

How does the NBA’s drug policy work?

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, players can be randomly tested up to four times during the season (twice for HGH) and twice during the offseason (once for HGH), per Larry Coon’s FAQ. The league can’t conduct more than 1,525 tests in a year or 600 during an offseason. Players can also be tested for “reasonable cause” up to four times in a six-week period.

When players are tested, their samples are split into a “Test A” and “Test B.” If “Test A” results in a positive testing, a player can request “Test B” be sent to another lab. If a player refuses to submit for testing or tries to cheat, they’re considered to have tested positive.

What’s going on this year?

The NBA’s had just 13 athletes test positive for banned substances ever, including the most recent three. For a league with over 450 players, that number is minuscule. Could it really be so few?

Current Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose and former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl have speculated otherwise. In 2011, in an ESPN The Magazine story, Rose was asked to rate PED use in the NBA on a scale of 1-10. “Seven,” he said. “It’s huge, and I think we need a level playing field, where nobody has that advantage over the next person.” He later reneged, saying, “I do not recall making the statement nor do I recall the question being asked. If that was my response to any question, I clearly misunderstood what was asked of me.”

In 2017, Karl, in his book Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection, sounded off about doping in the NBA.

Are more players using PEDs now than ever? Or is the NBA testing more frequently than it once did?

The NBA is sending a warning

The NBA’s sent a statement with three players already testing positive for PEDs. Collins was in the midst of a breakout year, and Ayton was the top pick in last year’s draft. All players are subject to testing.

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