The NBA released a statement today announcing that the league will begin testing players for human growth hormone during the 2015-2016 season.
During the last round of CBA negotiations, the players’ union and the league agreed to implement a system that would test players for HGH, and that system is now complete. Players will be subject to three random tests annually—two will be administered during the regular season and one during the offseason. Players will be suspended for 20 games for a first positive test, 45 games for a second, and “dismissed and disqualified from the NBA” for a third.
So what does this all mean? It’s hard to say, really. Maybe the league is lousy with HGH users and next year will be a reckoning of sorts, or maybe this is just an empty PR gesture and nobody is going to get caught by design. Hell, there’s a decent chance that PED-using players have moved on from HGH and are already onto some stuff that won’t show up on these tests. Either way, everyone should prepare for all of the really bad opinions that will inevitably follow that first positive test.