In the wake of the Biogenesis scandal that linked some MLB studs to performance-enhancing drugs, the NBA seems to be accelerating discussions about HGH tests. As ESPN's T.J. Quinn makes clear, Biogenesis is by no means restricted to baseball:
As for NBA, probably 1 or 2 in Biogenesis documents at most.— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) July 29, 2013
Right now, the league is allowed to test players for drugs twice during the offseason and four times during the actual in-season proceedings.
All of the tests are performed without warning, and they can be escalated to four tests in a six-week window if an independent expert agrees with the league that there's probable cause to suspect doping.
Hedo Turkoglu, who was given a 20-game suspension after testing positive for methenolone, is the biggest victim of the drug-testing policy in recent years, but there still isn't sufficient testing for HGH.
While there is testing for some drugs, it's not enough, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, who also notes that David Stern is hoping to change this in the near future:
After the NBA Board of Governors' meeting in Las Vegas earlier this month, Commissioner David Stern said he hoped that a new HGH test could be in place in time for the start of next season.
"Let me just say that our Players Association has been very good in their work with us on all of these things," Stern said. "Right now, they're a little bit hamstrung because they're searching for an executive director. It's more difficult to make decisions. But we're optimistic that whatever—we have a great program. Don't get me wrong."
Officials with the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) have differed with Stern's assessment in the past, saying that the NBA has holes in its testing program, including the lack of an HGH test. WADA tests Olympic athletes for HGH, and its protocols have been adopted by MLB.
Would you like to see HGH testing implemented?
Human growth hormone use presumably doesn't run as rampant in the NBA as it does in sports where pure, brawny strength is more necessary, but there are still many benefits associated with it.
Primarily, injured players can recover more quickly and get back to earning their paychecks.
As reported by Aldridge, players will be updated at the union meeting next month, but it will likely be hard to come to a decision about year-round testing, something that players in all major sports have always been hesitant to accept.
Stern has already left behind an incredible legacy. For all of the criticism he's received in recent years, let's not forget that he was responsible for the sport's massive growth and international flavor, among other things.
Installing a program for HGH testing would be a great final chapter to his legacy.