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Mark Cuban wants NBA to consider allowing HGH use

Feb 13, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

Mark Cuban,  Brian Forte AP

Imagine a world where NBA players were banned from using exercise equipment.

The league didn’t want players getting too physically dominant and subjecting themselves to the types of muscle pulls that would come with a physique arms race. Players were still allowed to train, but using any outside equipment crossed the line. Of course, some players broke the rules and lifted weights, but they risked suspension.

Seem irrational?

That’s not all that different from the NBA’s HGH ban.

Perhaps, there’s good reason to prevent players from using HGH, but Mark Cuban wants to see the research first.

Sam Amick of USA TODAY:

Cuban isn’t advocating the use of the controversial drug but rather calling attention to what he sees as a dearth of research on the topic as it relates to athletes who are recovering from injury. His hope, which he shared in front of the league’s owners and league officials at an Oct. 23 Board of Governors meeting in New York, is that a more-informed decision can be made as to whether it should remain on the league’s banned-substance list or perhaps be utilized as a way of expediting an athlete’s return to the court. If it were ever allowed — and it’s safe to say that won’t be happening anytime soon — Cuban sees a major benefit for teams and their fans like.

“The issue isn’t whether I think it should be used,” Cuban told USA TODAY Sports via e-mail. “The issue is that it has not been approved for such use. And one of the reasons it hasn’t been approved is that there have not been studies done to prove the benefits of prescribing HGH for athletic rehabilitation or any injury rehabilitation that I’m aware of. The product has such a huge (public) stigma that no one wants to be associated with it.”

“I believe that professional sports leagues should work together and fund studies to determine the efficacy of HGH for rehabbing an injury,” Cuban told USA TODAY Sports. “Working together could lead us from the path of demonizing HGH and even testosterone towards a complete understanding. It could allow us to make a data based decision rather than the emotional decision we are currently making. And if it can help athletes recover more quickly, maybe we can extend careers and have healthier happier players and fans.”

I would not be surprised if Cuban is open to allowing HGH for all players, injured or not. But proposing a change as it relates to injuries is a good way in the door.

If the side effects are significant, HGH should remain banned. Players who don’t want to subject themselves to that risk shouldn’t have to compete with players who do.

But if the side effects are deemed mild and rare enough, what exactly would be the NBA’s basis for a continued ban? There are significant legal and perception challenges, but if the league has sound research supporting HGH use, those hurdles could be cleared in time.

I’m not sure we’ll ever see HGH allowed in the NBA. At minimum, it’s a long road to that date.

Cuban is just trying to take a few steps in that direction.

  1. cantonbound13 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    The NBA doesn’t test for HGH. Just ask LeBron.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      Again… If Lebron is on HGH, so are the other superstars. Since NBA rosters are so mch smaller than other sports the players are much more in the know about their peers. CP3 stated the union will fight HGH testing. There’s a reason for that.

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:46 PM

        Just curious, but do you sit around waiting on stories to pop up that you can post something about Lebron and PEDs? I’m going to guess you also used to beat the “Lebron will never win a ring” drum and probably the “His ring has an asterisk because it was a 66 game season” as well. Let it go man, let it go.

      • slowclyde86 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:49 PM

        Just curious, detective, but do you seriously doubt that players like Lebrun and Howard don’t use hgh? Seriously? These drugs have permeated every other major sport and there is literally no hgh testing. Put your head head in the sand if you want.

      • bjornreyes - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Detective, LeBron slept with cantonbound’s mom. We all know that.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        There IS HGH testing, it just isn’t blood testing. That means they can never be entirely sure what steroid or hormone a player is using, just that they have elevated levels of natural hormones. Like if a player tests over 1500 in testosterone then they get suspended, but they can’t be sure why the testosterone was so high so then the player just lies and says he was taking Adderall like all the lying super bowl champ seahawks players.

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:26 AM

        If this posts twice…sorry.

        I very much believe many players are using HGH. That’s why I said there’s a reason CP3 said the Union would fight HGH testing. My point was/is that if (because we don’t know) Lebron is on HGH he is far from the only one.

        One thing has been proven over and over again, if athletes can gain an advantage, they’ll take it. Especially when they can use and not even be tested for it. My head is very much above sand.

  2. RavenzGunnerz - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    This kind of talk could destroy the NBA.

    1. Owner talks about it.
    2. Young NBA star player thinks it’s a good thing.
    3. Young NBA star player is found to have used HGH
    4. Scandal erupts.
    5. See MLB decline.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      MLB decline?

    • smoothaswilkes - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:35 AM

      Go back to Florio’s BS.

      Seriously, since the Super Bowl ended this blog has been inundated with Florio’s readers. Same thing on HardballTalk.

      Find another blog to troll. Thanks.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:29 AM

      Speaking of Florio.. I’m pretty much at my limit with his bs articles that sensationalize and try to force his opinion on you so I’ve been using for football stuff. I tried to post that on PFT, but shockingly it was blocked from going through.

  3. sdelmonte - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Wow. I agree with Cuban. There is a first time for everything.

  4. antistratfordian - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    By not even testing for it the league basically does allow it. It’s been that way for decades.

    • smoothaswilkes - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      There is no reliable test for HGH, among other reason why it’s difficult to actually test for, but, please, try again.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:50 AM

        Try again for what? I wasn’t trying to do anything other than to say that players can go ahead and use it right now if they want to. The NBA doesn’t do any blood testing at all, so there are all sorts of things players can do right now and never be detected. The league is aware of this.

        You know, the NBA never adequately tested for any PEDs at all until very recently – and even now their system is still full of gaps – so imagine what the players of past eras were up to. Or maybe you don’t want to imagine that… in any case, it’s likely that most of your NBA heroes were doping at some point.

  5. honkerdawg - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Why don’t they allow coke too, it’ll make the players quicker. You can’t fix players with no talent with drugs and the NBA has a dearth if NO talent on its rosters

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      Apples and oranges

    • beagle11 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      Go do a bunch of blow and try and play basketball, let me know how that works out for you

    • smoothaswilkes - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      They did. It was called the 80s.

      • spursareold - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        70s, tbh.

  6. thomaskouns - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Professional sports should be a meritocracy – you are judged on an equal scale against your peers.

    PEDS should not be allowed because:

    – from a moral and ethical standpoint it sends the message to young people that it’s OK to cheat to get ahead which is morally bankrupt
    – we have no idea yet what the long-term effects are on the body. Steroids have already been proven to increase heart disease, cancer, liver failure, increases negative emotions (mood swings, anger & depression)
    – players have varying reactions to the drugs. It may turn a 10 minute per game guy into a 40 and a 30 min per player into a 32.

    If a sport needs PEDS to increase its popularity what does that say about the sport itself…

    • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      You say it sends a message that cheating is okay but it’s only cheating because the rules say it is. Like the article says, that’s like saying “If lifting weights was against the rules then we’re sending a bad message to kids by saying they should work out to gain an advantage.”

      • beagle11 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        Can you imagine not taking dayquil to go to work with a cold? Cuban is just in favor of exploring its efficacy. If research shows it can help heal injuries faster than what makes that different than any other type of therapy?

    • borderline1988 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      If the moral argument/kids thing is your prime concern, then the way the NBA treats HGH now is perfect.

      It treats HGH as illegal, but doesn’t test for it. It’s brilliant – basically players can use it to become better, add value to the NBA product, rehab injuries, etc. However, they can never admit to using HGH and they never get caught because there’s no testing, so the message is never sent to kids at all.

      And if you argue that kids are still getting the message from athletes that drugs are okay, I’d respond that young baseball players are perhaps MORE likely to use PEDs, as they see the success that verified steroid users had.

      To me, this is a union issue. If the players as a collective group want to use HGH, don’t test for it. Keeps everyone happy.

  7. timb12 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    I don’t know where people have drawn the line. Players and athletes all try to get ahead. I’d say all of the league is taking some kind of supplement to help themselves. Whether it’s protein, or whatever. At what point do you draw the line and say “oh that’s unacceptable!” So if the testing is done and it’s harmless as far as side effects go, they should allow it.

  8. crillbill - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    This is Cuban just trolling the league at their lack of testing.

  9. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I am not sure a lot of the players use HGH in the NBA. Especially with all the injuries now. HGH is great for aiding in recovery, and will def help increase your cardiovascular wind. A lot of people think that it makes you stronger but it doesn’t. It might give you the ability to train harder to get stronger and faster but a syringe of hgh is not going to have the same effects as testosterone.

    HGH is near impossible to test for. Its half life in your blood is like 2 hours, and depending on whether you dose when you wake up or right before bed no one is getting caught. No one knows what the long term effects are. A lot of Dr’s think the body stop creating HGH as you get older because you are more prone to cancer.

    Some people think using HGH excessively will grow cancer cells in the body. I have no doubt football players use it all day long. Its the reason so many guys are freaks of nature

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