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Report: NBA, union near deal to allow HGH testing

Mar 8, 2013, 2:33 PM EDT

needle, syringe, drug Getty Images

The NBA needs to be testing for human growth hormone. Ask around the league and the first response of most people is that performance-enhancing drugs are not an issue in the NBA. I tend to be skeptical the league is that clean. But if it is or isn’t, there has to be testing.

And there will be soon, reports Henry Abbot at ESPN.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are close to an agreement to test players’ blood for human growth hormone (HGH), according to sources with direct knowledge of the talks. Testing could begin as soon as the 2013-14 season.

David Stern has said before he expected HGH blood testing of players to happen within the next year.

Of course, the NBA has banned HGH for years, the problem has been it’s a blood test (nobody likes having blood drawn) and there were questions of the test’s reliability. But that is changing and putting pressure on the league to change, Abbott said.

But those concerns have eroded lately, sources say, with a frenzy of progress in talks between the league and union. A decisive factor: Major League Baseball and its respected union have agreed to blood tests for HGH, weakening the basketball union’s claims that the test was unreliable or that blood testing is too invasive.

Part of the challenge in getting this put together is former players union head Billy Hunter has been suspended, is expected to sue the league, and no replacement has been found. The union is a bit of a mess right now.

There are details to be worked out — is this blood test in addition to or replacing one of the six random urine tests players take a year? Will the test look just for HGH or other things as well?

The conventional wisdom has long been that steroids and PEDs are not prevalent in the NBA because being muscle-bound is not a real advantage. I don’t buy it — what HGH or designer steroids can do is help with recovery, and that is something NBA players could use. To bounce back quicker after a workout, or during the long seasons with four games in five nights at times, speeding recovery would be huge.

And frankly, there are people that will break the rules to get a shot at the money, fame and perks of an NBA lifestyle. To think some wouldn’t cross that line seems naïve to me.

Hopefully the testing will show I’m wrong, or at least expose the wrongdoers.

  1. michaeljordanseviltwin - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:41 PM


    This will ruin the league! I don’t want to know who’s cheating…. pleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebronpleasedontbelebron

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      No big names will get busted. Stern won’t allow it.

      • capya - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        nor will the players union.

        This is mostly a PR thing, HGH use is said to be ineffective, with about the same results as a placebo, and may actually reduce the stamina of an athlete using it.

        That said, it’s mostly used outside of competition (unlike blood doping or epo for example) and only remains detectable for 24 hours.

        They’ll make a big hoopla about starting HGH testing, talk about keeping the sport clean, and then implement a testing strategy that will essentially ensure that nobody ever gets caught using it.

  2. bcopus - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    That was the attitude in the 90’s for MLB fans, and look at them now. It really shouldn’t matter so much. They get paid to entertain, and what they do to themselves should be their own business.

  3. capya - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I for one sure hope Kobe has a good store of blood bags ready for the playoffs. And if he’s not taking EPO, he sure as hell should be.

  4. raysfan1 - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    HGH testing is needed for PR purposes only. Studies have not shown any benefit to strength or performance in people who do not have a HGH deficiency. HGH is really not an effective PED.

  5. mungman69 - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Hell, I’d take HGH if it would help me play in the NBA.

  6. chase8000 - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Obviously people like Lebron James and Howard and others use something because the size of their shoulders is unnatural. That gives them huge upper body strength that has to help in their playing. Its one thing exercising and using weights to increase their strength like Kobe but some of those player out there are going much further than that.

  7. ravensfan19 - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Don’t Worry Heat fans. Lebron Makes Stern too Much Money, Lebron tests results would never get released.

  8. steelers4385 - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Watever. This aint football. All these girls cry about breathing on them wrong. Not a very manly physical sport.

  9. money2long - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    imagine lebron on steroids.

  10. silentb3 - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    these comments are hilarious

  11. ravensfan19 - Mar 8, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Lebron – I am now taking my Talents to Europe.

  12. BigBeachBall - Mar 9, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Kobe is going to retire just in time… Btw, he travels to germany once a year in the offseason to undergo a “special” knee surgery. Nobody knows exactly what it entails. Just saying, im preparing for it.

  13. nygrwy - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Kobe is without a doubt on HGH

    Lebron I am not sure about yet.

  14. manhandler1 - Mar 9, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Love the picture of the syringes, except for one thing. HGH is injected in virtually minute amounts with a very small syringe called an insulin pen.

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