When you think about PEDs in sports, you probably think first and foremost about baseball and, perhaps, football. But you probably don’t think about basketball or the NBA.
Well, according to George Karl, you should.
The former NBA coach – in his new book, “Furious George” – alleges that the NBA has got “a drug issue.” Karl wrote, “It’s obvious that our players are doping. How are some guys getting older – yet thinner and fitter? How are they recovering from injuries to fast? Why the hell are they going to Germany in the off-season? I doubt it’s for sauerkraut. More likely it’s for the newest, hard-to-detect blood boosters and PEDs they have in Europe.”
That’s quite a claim. Former NBA executive Bobby Marks, however, doesn’t buy it.
“I wish he would have named some names,” The Vertical’s front office insider said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “If you’re going to go in that direction, put some names to it. That’s a damaging accusation. Every guy has their own opinion. I’m sure you’ll probably see something maybe from the league from a reaction standpoint. When you get into PEDs, the gambling aspect with Tim Donaghy – those are some things that the league, from a damage-control standpoint, you’ve got to be proactive with.”
Marks spent 20 years in the NBA working for the Nets. He does not recall ever thinking a player was using PEDs or even having that discussion with coaches or executives.
“No, we never did,” Marks said. “From a drug-testing standpoint, the league is as thorough as I’ve seen compared to some of the other leagues as far as from a testing standpoint. It’s pretty hard to mask something if a player wants to go in that direction. I think in the NBA, I think where we’ve seen the evolvement from a strength and conditioning standpoint has certainly changed. We went from the days of one strength and conditioning coach to now we’ve got three or four. We’ve got a director of sports performance. There’s a lot of different ways that guys have improved their bodies, and it’s a year-round sport, as you know.
“So no,” Marks continued, “we never had the conversations where we got into camp and said, ‘Wow, that player put on 20 pounds. Is there something he did over the summer?’ If he did, he would definitely get caught with that. I never really second-guessed ourselves as far as a PED standpoint.”