With almost 30 years of coaching experience in the NBA, George Karl likely knows what he is talking about when he chooses to speak about something relating to the league and its players. Most recently, the former coach released a book detailing his time in the NBA titled, “Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection.”
One notable topic Karl chose to discuss in his book dealt with the world of performance-enhancing drugs and the problem he feels the league currently has with them.
“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.”
– George Karl, former NBA head coach
Is he right or is he just trying to sell more copies of his book? Only time will tell with this touchy subject.
But oddly enough, his accusations of PED use in the NBA is one of the rare times in which the topic has been brought up for discussion. But why is this?
For a league that generates billions of dollars in revenue, perhaps the NBA is too scared of what may happen to its popularity if it started busting players for steroid use. All they have to do is look at the demise of baseball since the steroid era to know the public’s perception of athletes who choose to cheat for a shot at success.
Karl’s comments may be just accusations for now, but it could also serve as a warning for the league to take the appropriate measures in order to prevent any tumultuous scandals from happening and destroying any success that the NBA has created up to this point.
The league has never busted a player for PED use who really had any star quality like a LeBron James, a Carmelo Anthony, or a Blake Griffin. But when that day comes (because it will), will the NBA be able to survive?