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Furious George - The NBAs PED Problem

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George Karl’s comments about some of his former players in his upcoming new book, “Furious George” drew an angry response last week, and another excerpt is sure to draw more reaction this week.

Karl, who was fired by the Sacramento Kings last April, probably has coached his last NBA game after 1,175 wins with six teams in a career dating back to 1984, and he apparently feels free to say whatever he thinks about both the league and its players.

After an allegationcame out in December in an excerpt obtained by NBC Sports: NBA players are doping.

“We’ve got a more thorough drug-testing program than the NFL or MLB, which we always brag about. But we’ve still got a drug issue, though a different one than thirty years ago. And this one bothers me more than the dumbasses who got in trouble with recreational drugs.

“I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs—like steroids, human growth hormone, and so on. It’s obvious some of our players are doping. How are some guys getting older—yet thinner and fitter? How are they recovering from injuries so fast? Why the hell are they going to Germany in the off-season? I doubt it’s for the sauerkraut.

“More likely it’s for the newest, hard-to-detect blood boosters and PEDs they have in Europe. Unfortunately, drug testing always seems to be a couple steps behind drug hiding. Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test. I think we want the best athletes to succeed, not the biggest, richest cheaters employing the best scientists. But I don’t know what to do about it.

We marvel at the athleticism and longevity of NBA players the same way we celebrated the uptick of home runs in the 1990s – with too much awe and not enough skepticism. So much of the lack of suspicion into NBA steroids use is based on the long-standing idea that the drugs wouldn’t help fluid athletes like basketball players. But the prevailing opinion used to be that only hitters, not pitchers, benefited from steroids. Then, a ton of pitchers tested positive. Steroids ran far deeper in baseball than many imagined, and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the same is true in basketball. To be clear, I have no specific knowledge of wider steroid use in the NBA. Just a hunch.

Does Karl have more? He at least appears to take a specific shot.

Karl doesn’t mention any name in this excerpt, but recently retired Lakers star Kobe Bryant is the guy who comes to mind in regard to trips to Germany. Karl never coached Bryant, but he surely was a coach long enough to know what is or is not going on in the NBA, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if its league’s players tried to skirt the PED rules in the same way players from every other sport do.

Story courtesy of NBC sports and Fox Sports