The Top 25 Athlete Druggies of All Time

John TaboneCorrespondent INovember 7, 2010

The Top 25 Athlete Druggies of All Time

0 of 28

    Sex, drugs, and alcohol. All of these come with the fame of being an athlete. A few of the biggest athletes have chosen the wrong path and have gotten caught up with these vices. Of the three, drugs have been the most damaging in sports. Whether it be a small stint with marijuana or career- or life-ending drug abuse, drugs have caused some of the most memorable moments in sports, famous and infamous. 

Honorable Mention: Corey Blount

1 of 28

    Drug of choice? Marijuana

    The former NBA player was charged for possession of 29 pounds of marijuana a few years ago. He is now known as Corey Blunt.

Honorable Mention: Michael Irvin

2 of 28

    Drug of choice? Cocaine

    On his 30th birthday, the former NFL player and current analyst for the NFL Network was charged for possession of cocaine. He was suspended for the first five games of the season and paid a $10,000 fine. 

Honorable Mention: Shawne Williams

3 of 28

    Drug of choice? Codeine, Marijuana

    Shawne Williams is just another guy that got involved in the "drank" phenomenon. He was arrested for possession of prescription codeine in January 2010. He also got arrested for marijuana and gun possession in September 2007 and July 2010. Shame on you, Shawne!

25. Tim Lincecum

4 of 28

    Drug of choice? Marijuana

    Too bad Prop. 19 didn't pass. Poor Big Time Timmy Jim.

24. Martina Hingis

5 of 28

    Drug of choice? Cocaine

    This happens to be a flattering photo of Martina Hingis. This tennis legend tested positive for cocaine on January 4, 2008. She was banned for two years and retired soon after.

23. Terrence Kiel

6 of 28

    Drug of choice? Codeine

    The late Terrence Kiel was a safety with the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. In 2006, he was arrested for multiple charges of possession of a controlled substance. In 2007, he pleaded guilty for shipping codeine to Texas. Kiel died after crashing his car on his way home from a party in 2008. 

22. Johnny Jolly

7 of 28

    Drug of choice? Codeine

    Ironic since jolly ranchers are a main component of sizzurp. 

21. Michael Phelps

8 of 28

    Drug of choice? Marijuana

    I'll let the picture do the talking...

20. John Daly

9 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol, specifically Jack Daniels

    Not a gentleman in a gentleman's game, Mr. Daly with his outlandish pants and even more outlandish behavior has more lawsuits filed against him than PGA championships. 

19. JaMarcus Russell

10 of 28

    Drug of choice? Codeine

    If you haven't noticed, I love celebrity mugshots. Often considered the biggest bust in NFL history, JaMarcus Russell was caught with codeine at his home in Mobile, Alabama in July. 

18. Lawrence Taylor

11 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol, Cocaine, and more

    LT went a bit crazy at the tail end of his career. He tested positive multiple times for cocaine during his last few years in the NFL and was even suspended 30 days. After retiring, he went to rehab, but got arrested for purchasing cocaine from an undercover cop twice. Poor LT.

17. Vin Baker

12 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol

    An NBA all-star in four of his first five seasons, Baker turned to binge drinking and ballooned to a whopping 300 pounds. 

16. Roy Tarpley

13 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol and Cocaine

    Destined for success ever since being drafted seventh overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1986, Tarpley made headlines by getting permanently banned from the NBA in 1995.

15. Bam Morris

14 of 28

    Drug of choice? Cocaine and Marijuana

    The former NFL player has been charged multiple times for possession of cocaine and marijuana (4 kilograms, to be exact). Violating his parole from a 1996 plea bargain regarding marijuana possession, Bam was sentenced to ten years in prison. 

14. Jason Giambi

15 of 28

    Drug of choice? Performance enhancing drugs and some Jack Daniels, obviously

    One of the players involved with the BALCO scandal in 2003, Jason Giambi has made multiple public apologies for using PEDs.

13. Steve Howe

16 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol and cocaine

    Steve Howe died in 2006 when his pickup truck rolled over. His autopsy revealed that he was on meth. 

12. Ricky Williams

17 of 28

    Drug of choice? Marijuana

    Current Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams is one of the few out-of-the-closet marijuana users. Williams suffers from social anxiety disorder and was given Paxil to treat it. Ever since, Williams has come out saying that marijuana works the same as Paxil with fewer side effects. 

    "Marijuana is 10 times better for me than Paxil."

    -Williams in an interview with ESPN

11. Diego Maradona

18 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol and cocaine

    Maradona is an Argentine football legend. However, he was on the wrong path a few times in his career. Maradona was a regular user of cocaine from the mid-1980s to 2004.

    In 1991, he received a 15-month ban from soccer for testing positive for cocaine. There were also rumors that he had an illegitimate son while playing with Napoli, his club at the time.

    In 2004, he was rushed to the hospital as he overdosed on cocaine. In 2007, he was diagnosed with hepatitis due to excessive drinking. With all of this abuse came massive weight gain. Diego Maradona has been drug and alcohol free for the past few years.

10. Barry Bonds

19 of 28

    Drug of choice? Steroids

    Oh Barry Bonds, how could anyone forget you? The baseball player broke a few records in his time in the MLB. However, in 2003, he was put on trial for using steroids. In 2007, he was indicted with the charge of perjury for lying about using steroids in 2003. His trial will begin on March 21, 2011.

9. Paul Gascoigne

20 of 28

    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Drug of choice? Alchol and cocaine

    Many people don't even know who Paul Gascoigne is. Well, he was a former soccer player that had 57 caps for the English national team. A very solid player. However, he did have an array of problems due to his alcohol addiction.

    He recently came out saying that he'd drink four bottles of whiskey a day and even snort some cocaine. He beat his ex-wife and his children for years until he finally got a divorce.

    In June 2009, he called his girlfriend after an extended drinking session saying that he had a knife and that he was going to commit suicide.

    On July 9, 2010, he appeared on the BBC drunk during the Raoul Moat saga saying he was a friend of the fugitive serial killer.

    In October 2010, he was arrested for drunk driving and possession of cocaine. Entering rehab for the tenth time, he was then arrested for destroying a hotel room. As of this month, he is living in another hotel as he has now lost his house. 

8. Floyd Landis

21 of 28

    Drug of choice? Steroids

    Everyone knows what Floyd Landis did. The cyclist tested positive for blood doping after winning the Tour de France. The title was stripped from him and he was banned from competitions for two years. 

7. Mark McGwire

22 of 28

    Drug of choice? Steroids

    After breaking various records and retiring, Mark McGwire finally admitted to abusing steroids in 2010 after becoming the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. He had been using them on and off for a decade.

    In 2005, he was subpoenaed to testify at a congressional hearing on steroids. He declined to take part in it. It only took him five years to tell the truth, although he did say he took steroids for health reasons rather than performance. 

6. Len Bias

23 of 28

    Drug of choice? Cocaine

    Len Bias died hours after being drafted second overall by the Boston Celtics on June 17, 1986. After signing a $3 million shoe contract with Reebok, Bias drove his newly-leased sports car into a drug-riddled neighborhood then went back to campus at the University of Maryland.

    After having dinner with his teammates, he went back to his dorm and abused cocaine. He was pronounced dead at 8:55 AM on June 18. He is still considered by many to be one of the best players to never play in the NBA. 

5. Dwight Gooden

24 of 28

    Drug of choice? Cocaine

    Dwight Gooden had the world in his hands. He was considered by many to be a top pitcher in his early years with the New York Mets.

    In 1986, he became the youngest player, at 21, to pitch in the All-Star game. The Mets went on to win the World Series that year, but Gooden had a terrible performance against the Red Sox in the World Series.

    He didn't even show up for the victory parade.

    It was later confirmed that he was on cocaine binge. During spring training in 1987, he tested positive for cocaine and was suspended until June 5. Dwight Gooden could easily have been a Hall of Famer, but instead he took the path of drugs. 

4. Darryl Strawberry

25 of 28

    Drug of choice? Cocaine

    Almost everyone knows that the 1980s Mets were huge drug abusers. However, Strawberry and Gooden top the list because they could have been much better players if they didn't abuse cocaine.

    Strawberry's career started to dwindle after the Mets won the World Series in 1986. In 1991, comparisons to the great Hank Aaron were being made, but by 1995, he was suspended from the MLB for testing positive for cocaine. Ever since, he's had other legal troubles, but has gone through rehab and is living a much healthier lifestyle. 

3. Josh Hamilton

26 of 28

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Drug of choice? Alcohol and more

    Everyone knows the Josh Hamilton story. His drug and alcohol problems started in 2001. Those problems escalated in 2003 and 2004. He was suspended for 30 days. According to MLB policy, he must have not passed two or more drug tests and tested positive for a drug more severe than marijuana. This suspension was increased several times, as he continued to violate the drug policy.

    Hamilton did not play from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, he played his first game with the Cincinnati Reds, during which he received a 22-second standing ovation, and later that year he was up for the ROY award.

    In 2007, he was traded to the Texas Rangers and the rest is history. Josh Hamilton has inspired many by finally making the major leagues and taking the Texas Rangers to the World Series for the first time. 

2. Theoren Fleury

27 of 28

    Drug of choice? Alcohol and cocaine

    As a sports fan, I must say that Theo Fleury is one of the most exciting athletes that I have ever seen play. Undersized, Fleury made everyone eat their words when he broke out in 1988 scoring 34 points in 36 games with the Calgary Flames. Ever since that season, Fleury had on and off years. When he was on, he was almost unstoppable. When he was off, he was almost unbearable to watch.

    Fleury went through a lot. In 2001, after being fourth in the league in scoring with 74 points in 62 games, Fleury was forced to enter the league's substance abuse program. He stated that the Manhattan life was too much for him. Drugs were available everywhere.

    In January 2002, after taking a penalty against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Fleury left the arena instead of taking a seat in the penalty box. A few weeks later, he was fined for making an obscene gesture to an Islanders fan that was taunting Fleury about his drug and alcohol problems.

    A few days prior to the beginning of the 2003-04 NHL season, Fleury was suspended for a few months for violating the NHL's substance abuse policy.  He played very little that season and was once again suspended at the end of the 2003 NHL season. This ended his NHL career.

    In 2009, he attempted a comeback with his first NHL team, the Calgary Flames, after being allowed back into the NHL by commissioner Gary Bettman. He played four exhibition games and scored four points. Although the Flames did not sign him, Fleury warmed the hearts of every hockey fan with his attempted comeback. If anything, it was more of statement, and boy he made that statement with everything he had. 

1. Dock Ellis

28 of 28

    Drug of choice? LSD

    Dock Ellis was a great pitcher and won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971. However, on June 12, 1970, Doc Ellis pitched the a "no-no," the greatest game of his career, while under the influence of LSD. Ellis, D. Just read that out loud. This, my friends, is no coincidence.