As rumors of Lamar Odom's drug-induced demise swirl around the internet, it's time to re-evaluate the NBA's drug-testing policy.
The league has a long history of suspected (and some confirmed) drug users. The Birdman (you might know him as Chris Andersen) was banned in 2006, then re-instated for substance abuse. Michael Beasley has been busted by cops multiple times with marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Former NBA star Vlade Divac was rumored to have been a pot head. Allen Iverson ... well, he was accused of being a drunk.
Is it an epidemic? Or simply a case of the NBA needing to tighten up their drug policy? According to TMZ, it's the latter.
TMZ reports: Because testing is randomized, the last test can be administered as early as January, and the season lasts for months thereafter. As one recently-retired NBA player put it, after the 4th test, "It's like Christmas Day. We can take whatever we want."
The celebrity gossip website is also reporting that 30-percent of NBA players use hard drugs, including Molly, Ecstasy and Lean, during the season. (Lean is a mix of Sprite and Codeine cough syrup, also known as sizzurp). One player admitted that pot is very popular.
First offense in the NBA for a drug-related incident carries a five-game suspension (out of 82) and mandatory counseling. A second offense can cost the player as much as $25,000.
Compare that to the NHL where first offense is 20 games without pay. Or the NFL where it's a four-game suspension (out of 16) and no pay. Baseball? Consider that the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz was suspended 25 games just for using Adderall without a prescription.
What's the point?
If you're a skilled athlete that can't kick your drug habit, learn how to dribble a basketball.