The NBA is hoping to make a deal with the NBPA soon to add HGH testing to its drug testing program.
HGH as a performance enhancing drug has been squarely in the crosshairs with Major League Baseball and the National Football League worried about their athletes testing positive for this banned substance. What makes it so tough is that the only way currently to test for it is by a blood test. And so, many players' associations have resisted adding it to the panel of drugs.
Leagues are getting more serious about testing for HGH and cracking down on performance enhancing drugs. The Ryan Braun suspension and saga in baseball certainly seems to be a sign that leagues are getting serious. MLB suspended Braun for the remainder of the season (60-plus games) after he got off on a technicality the first time. The reports are that Braun agreed to accept his penalty without appeal to avoid even harsher penalties.
Plenty of organizations, including Congress and the World Anti-Doping Agency, have criticized the NBA for a lax drug testing program which David Stern has brushed off with the perhaps naive thought that PEDs and steroids would not help NBA players.
The plain fact is that PEDs are not used to help increase strength. They are used to help shorten recovery time, particularly from injuries.
The Magic understand that better than most. Rashard Lewis was suspended for 10 games in 2010 after he tested positive for a banned substance. Hedo Turkoglu was suspended 20 games in 2013 under the NBA's now-stricter penalty program for testing positive for a banned substance.
Both claimed they did not know what they were putting into their bodies. A common excuse.
This does not mean that either Lewis or Turkoglu are bad guys. They remain two of the most popular players among their teammates and even among fans (if you can get past the contract with Lewis and Turkoglu's poor production in his second stint).
Of course, neither tested positive nor were accused of taking anything that could not be accidentally bought at GNC — just because a substance is banned does not mean it is illegal like HGH is. And there are nothing louder than whispers about HGH use in the NBA.
But as we have seen in baseball, football and other sports, that does nto mean players are not looking for that extra edge.
So if the NBPA is willing to submit their members to testing and the NBA is willing to get out ahead of a potential problem, HGH testing will come. And that should give fans ultimately what they want: a cleaner sport where the athletes are playing on their natural ability.