Several alarming reports about Lamar Odom have surfaced over the past week that link the NBA veteran to serious drug use. Assuming the rumors about Odom leaving behind white powders and potent smells in his hotel rooms are true, are we to believe he is the only basketball player who uses recreational drugs? Not at all, according to the latest report from TMZ.
As players like Michael Beasley remind us, marijuana use is fairly common among NBA players. However, several anonymous players and sources reportedly told TMZ that a good portion of the league’s players use hard drugs. A number of players said that Lean, a concoction made up of Sprite and Codeine syrup, has become a popular drug among NBA players and was even used during the 2013 playoffs.
One current “famous” player allegedly told TMZ that he estimates 30% of his co-workers use hard drugs including Molly, Lean and Ecstasy, although he said he has never heard of anyone using cocaine. Another “famous” player estimated that only about 10% of players use hard drugs and agreed that cocaine is rarely one of them because it is too risky.
[Related: Lamar Odom was reportedly addicted to crack]
But how could players be using drugs and slipping through the cracks of the league’s drug testing policy? Players are randomly tested four times throughout the season. As NBA sources pointed out to TMZ, a player’s fourth test can come as early as January. Because of the NBA’s labor agreement, such a player would know they are free from drug tests for the remainder of the season, which could be several months if that player’s team makes the playoffs.
“It’s like Christmas Day,” a recently-retired NBA player reportedly said of the fourth drug test. “We can take whatever we want.”
Perhaps the league needs to work on changing the program so that players are tested once in the final month or two of the season. In any event, the drama surrounding Odom may shed light on a league-wide issue — albeit on a larger scale.Google+