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Steroids in Basketball: Lebron James

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Steroids in Basketball: Lebron James essay
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LeBron James is arguably the greatest player of all time in basketball. LeBron James is also probably considered one of the greatest and most athletic athletes of all time. But with time every athlete has to come to terms with their body aging and that they won’t be as good as they used to be… except for LeBron James. LeBron James just seems to get better and better each year. Back when LeBron first joined the NBA there wasn’t that much speculation about his physical abilities. He was just a young kid who was considered a physical specimen. Nobody questioned his ability until the Miama Era. LeBron gained a significant amount of muscle, had incredible recovery time, and was able to play night in and night out with little to no rest. People right away began to speculate he was doping. Let’s look at the facts first.

There a three major ways a player can enhance their physical abilities: Steroids, EPO (blood doping), and HGH. Most people think steroids is the drug of choice for professional athletes and also think steroids is used to just increase their brute strength. But steroids and peds (performance enhancing drugs) in the world of basketball help with recovery time, fat loss, healing after an injury, sustaining high energy levels, and increasing endurance. They can still make you stronger but talking in context with basketball that is likely the last reason players would take them. In Miami LeBron become more than just a freak of nature, in fact he became suspiciously inhuman. He gained 25 pounds of pure muscle and just seemed to be playing on a new level and add that to the fact he only missed 14 games in four seasons with Miami. This is when people started to get even more suspicious. While his teammates and draft class peers began to slow down Lebron was getting faster. One game LeBron rolled his ankle and was back the next game like nothing happened. People were noticing these things. Some of the side effects to HGH are muscle gain, hair loss, and cramping.

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LeBron showed signs of all of those and the NBA knew they needed to look into it. Back in 2013 an investigation into a steroid clinic in Miami found that a man by the last name Paul came in to pick up products for a man with the initials LJ. LeBron James initials are LJ and his agents name is Rich Paul. This was also a clinic that was tied to numerous MLB, NBA, and NFL players that got caught using steroids. There was also a lady that worked at the clinic that reported some of her co-workers were 100% that LJ was LeBron James. But all of this was just speculation. This wasn’t even the most suspicious PED related event in LeBron’s career. Back in 2014 when LeBron rejoined the Cavaliers people noticed LeBron didn’t look or play the same as he did the past few years. LeBron had cut a ton of weight and said he felt better than ever but as the season started people could see he wasn’t the same athlete. He wasn’t as explosive or strong as he was just one season prior. I guess that appears to be normal because with age comes slowing down as an athlete but it just so happens that at around the same time the NBA was pushing to reform its testing on steroids and PEDs. It is speculated LeBron was fasting to rid his system of all those performance enhancing drugs he took over the last few years. In the middle of that season while the Cavaliers were struggling LeBron took two weeks off to revitalize and rejuvenate in Miami. Maybe he did need the mental and physical rest but after he came back he came was more explosive and energized than ever before.

Some people may argue LeBron spends 1. 5 million dollars a year on his body and that he takes his health very seriously and that’s why he is able to do all the thing he is able to do but so do most professional athletes. LeBron is considered a freak of nature but don’t you think most pro athletes are and that most pro athletes spend a lot of money on their health so why is LeBron the only player that can play 82 games in his 15th season and lead the league in minutes played and average better number than he ever has in his entire career and not sustain even a minor injury. It just seems a little suspicious. I want to make it clear that steroids or PEDs don’t just make you an amazing basketball player but it does push you that extra little bit that can separate you from everyone else. You might be thinking if LeBron James was doping the NBA would have caught on a long time ago but consider this.

There are two main types of drug tests, blood testing and urine testing with urine testing being the test of choice in the NBA. In order to detect a PED in an athlete the lab would first have to know the exact makeup of that drug and it metabolites. Basically a lab can only identify a PED that they know exists so if a PED is untested and unknown the athlete taking it would pass the test. Well it just so happens to be there are PEDs called designer drugs that are made to specifically pass those tests. Designer drugs are constantly being reformulated and re-engineered so they’re always one step ahead. That right there is the power of money. You can literally tailor a drug to your specific needs. The NBA is also known for having the worst drug testing and test protocol out of all professional sports. In the last ten years only 6 NBA players have been caught using PEDs. Over that same time period 43 MLB have been caught using PEDs and in the NFL in 2014 alone suspended 29 players for using PEDs before the season even started.

With the amount of money on the line I’d guess that most pro athletes would risk the chance of being caught while using PEDs. People forget that LeBron is human too even though it seems that he is immune to aging. Even if the NBA was to catch LeBron using PEDs I don’t think they’d do anything about it. LeBron has passed superstar status, he is an icon. He brings an absurd amount of revenue to the league and he’s everything you could want in a role model. Great leader to his teammates, a family man, and in 15 years he has never had any off court issues. He is just as much of an asset to the league as he is to his team and I truly believe the NBA would avoid ruining his career by any means necessary. He simply means too much to the NBA. But I honestly don’t even think it matters if he’s on PEDs. At the end of the day the NBA is a league for entertainment and we go to watch them because we don’t want to watch some scrubs at our local gym we want to watch people who are big, fast, and athletic. As long as we’re entertained does it really matter what’s going on behind the scenes?

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