LeBron James expressed indifference Saturday over the NBA’s planned blood tests for Human Growth Hormone beginning next season, a policy agreed to by the league and players’ union that was announced Thursday. “if it’s the rules, it’s the rules,” James said after Cleveland’s final practice before hosting Boston on Sunday in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. “It shouldn’t be a problem.”
NBA players will be blood-tested for human growth hormone beginning next season. The league and the players association announced Thursday that HGH testing will start during training camp next fall. All players will be subjected to three random, unannounced tests annually – two during the season and once in the offseason.
Marijuana is legal in Colorado. A player from the Denver Nuggets can legally smoke weed but would be penalized by the NBA for doing so. What will you do if these drug laws continue to erode, state by state? Adam Silver: It doesn’t force us to change our policy. Plenty of employers have rules against employees drinking, which is perfectly legal. This is a policy matter, and it’s our strong preference that our players do not consume marijuana. We believe it will affect their performance on the court. That said, marijuana testing is something that’s collectively bargained with the players’ association, and we adjust to the times. But we’re much more concerned about HGH testing and designer performance-enhancing drugs. Among our many priorities going forward, marijuana is not at the top of our list.
FIBA carried out an extensive anti-doping programme in the lead-up and during its main events in 2014, with the results confirming that all players who participated are clean and reinforcing the fact that basketball is a low-risk doping sport. More than 300 samples were collected over the course of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the FIBA World Championship for Women and the FIBA U17 World Championships for Men and Women, with a minimum of three players per team tested. The testing was carried out to establish Athlete Biological Passports (ABPs) and to detect Human Growth Hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) among others.
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“I don’t want to be naïve. We don’t have HGH testing in our league. It’s something we agreed we’d do with the union, and we’re waiting to figure out what the appropriate procedures are. Understandably — and I’m sympathetic to the players here — because it requires the taking of blood, we want to make sure it’s done in the absolute right way. The NFL and their player association are going through the same discussion.” Tygart, however, dismisses the long-held NBA position that a lack of overt signs of PEDs means the lack of a problem. “Don’t be naive to the pressures,” Tygart said before hearing Silver’s comments. “Take your head out of the sand.”
“Unfortunately, I think the athletes are being let down by the system,” Tygart said in an interview with ESPN.com at the Sloan Conference on sports analytics Saturday at MIT. “Really, I’ve said it before. If there’s no chance of getting caught, and you’re overly competitive, you’re going to do anything possible to win. That includes using these dangerous drugs because they will give you a performance-enhancing benefit. “We’re hopeful at some point the athletes are supported and given the opportunity to be held to the highest standards. They do it when they’re subjected to the Olympic testing, a year out before the OIympic Games. They’re under our jurisdiction subject to blood testing and out-of-competition, no-notice, no blackout periods for when they can’t be tested. And they fully support it. We’ve never had a player say they didn’t want to be part of the program because of the testing.”