When it comes to the NBA and drug testing, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) head Travis Tygart thinks the league has some work to do.
Speaking with ESPN at the Sloan Conference on Saturday, Tygart said the current testing program is far too easy for athletes to beat:
“Unfortunately, I think the athletes are being let down by the system. Really, I’ve said it before. If there’s no chance of getting caught, and you’re overly competitive, you’re going to do anything possible to win. That includes using these dangerous drugs because they will give you a performance-enhancing benefit.
“We’re hopeful at some point the athletes are supported and given the opportunity to be held to the highest standards.”
Tygart also said the NBA needs to terminate its league-run testing program because it creates a conflict of interest: “That’s the inherent conflict that we see when a sport attempts to both promote and police itself. That’s why the code calls for independence.”
Of course, the NBA brass thinks there’s nothing wrong with the current testing program, and I’m inclined to agree. As new commissioner Adam Silver put it, “”I have no reason to believe the use of PEDs are widespread in the NBA. Both because we test and because, No. 2, it’s not part of the culture of the NBA.” He’s right. I mean, didn’t Space Jam, one of the greatest documentaries of all time, teach us that you don’t need performance-enhancing substances to win when you have heart and friendships and teamwork?