Forward Three wrote:I've written a bit about this on these forums before because I've been something of a bodybuilding enthusiast for a long time and while I am by no means an expert on the subject, and I haven't done any PEDs myself, it is something I've read and thought about a fair bit. I'm also a tall oaf so I can kind of relate to that aspect of NBA players and size/strength. With that said, I'm probably about to spit a bunch of buullll, so by all means, call me out if I say something completely outdated or dumb. Just a topic I'm interested in is all.
The long and short of it is that I think it is absolutely guaranteed that some players historically and today have taken PEDs. We'd be naive to think otherwise, especially in light of the Lance Armstrong revelations. The fact is, the science of 'doping' has never been as sophisticated as it is today but beyond that the ability to keep the secret has never been sharped either.
Yes, it is true that any athlete or even layperson who hasn't really trained with heavy weights before or who hasn't committed to a bodybuilder's diet before is likely to see substantial gains in a relatively short window of time. Anywhere from 10-25lbs in a year and change is possible. It won't all be muscle of course, but it won't all be fat either. You look around the league and that's basically the norm. 6'6" 185lbs bean pole comes in as a rookie and 2-3 years later he's 205-215 and looking like an NBA player. There's very little reason to think that sort of thing has anything to do with PEDs, at least not something like HGH or some anabolic steroids.
But then you have guys like Wade...
If there was ever a player I suspected of doping it'd be Wade. For starters he's huge. No, not bodybuilder huge, but there are simply not many 6'3/220ish guys in the league at all, let alone ones who are actually agile. But the other thing that makes him suspect to me is that he's come back from so. many. injuries. in his career. Granted maybe nothing he had was super crazy or career altering/ending, but it's not as if PEDs are only used to build mass either, helping with healing/recovery is on the table with these things. But then, it's also that he's had so many injuries in the first place. Thing is, one of the side-effects people don't often talk about with regards to 'unnatural' muscle growth in a short period of time is that your connective tissue doesn't grow with it and you wind up with 20lbs more than your body is comfortable supporting and it just increases your chances a bit of having to deal with joint and ligament crap. Hell, this type of thing happens to all-natural athletes in their first year or so of training and getting beginner gains, the effect is only more pronounced when you're doing it faster(as PEDs enable you to)
Throw into the mix his ridiculous jawline and kind of bloated facial features all around(including his eyes which just seem like the tissue around them has swollen) as well as actual accusations that have been levied at him from former colleagues about this(even though that is admittedly not a particularly reliable claim if someone had beef), and of all the active high-profile players, he is simply the one I suspect the most.
Against those suspicions I would say that there is the question of "well, sure maybe he did but when? and for how long? and where? NBA seasons are so long with so many games and off seasons are fairly short, and while Lance Armstrong taught us that you can maintain an active PED regime right alongside your activity of choice completely undetected, it still feels like that would be a lot harder to do with a basketball season than a cycling tour.
Of course, that opens up the other issue. Maybe he did, but maybe he doesn't anymore, so who is worse for wear? Do Miami's 2 quasi-asterisks championships become full up asterisks championships in the eyes of history if it was ever uncovered? or is that just me being a hater?
It's an interesting topic at least. I hope the NBA doesn't become the next big drug scandal in professional sports, and I personally have fairly liberal views on PED usage, but at the same time, I don't think the league is wrong to want to tighten the screws here or spearhead some investigation.
You're pretty spot on.
I think that initial PED usage is almost exclusively for heightened performance. But as time goes along it translates into recovery usage.
Of the players that play now I'd suspect Wade above all others. Like you said: it's not just the injuries he recovers to quickly from, it's that he's damaged his knees year after year and still he has so much explosion. Is some of that genetic? I'm sure. But not that much.
Kobe of course is a prime candidate. The amount of injuries he's played through I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if he used. Then there's the guys who have just exploded upon reaching the NBA in size. Guys like LeBron and Dwight and Shaq.