The Fundamentals

» August 7, 2009 10:12 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Chris Mannix of  “A total of six players have tested positive for PED’s since the NBA began testing in 1999. And the list is hardly a who’s-who of professional talent: Matt Geiger, Don McLean, Soumalia Samake, Lindsey Hunter, Darius Miles and now Lewis. Not exactly Bonds, Sosa and McGwire. No one believes Shaquille O’Neal was popping pills during the Lakers’ three title seasons and there have been no rumors of David Robinson and Tim Duncan pumping each other full of HGH in bathroom stalls during the Spurs title seasons of 1999 and 2003. Second, there is the drug, DHEA, that was in Lewis’s system. Dr. Gary Wadler, Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee, told the Orlando Sentinel that DHEA is ‘very widely used in supplemental and complementary kind of medicines and it’s in food stores.’ Wadler added that DHEA is also ‘not very effective’ as a performance enhancer. Third, as an NBA reporter for the last six years and as a locker room attendant with the Boston Celtics the eight years prior to that, I have never heard so much as a whisper of players juicing. Working both the home and away locker rooms in Boston, I saw a lot of things. I saw which players liked to drink (a lot), which ones liked to smoke (even more) and which ones liked both. I witnessed some unbelievably stupid decisions by players that, to a degree, compromised the integrity of the game. In many ways, I saw the underbelly of professional sports. But I never saw or heard anything related to performance enhancing drugs.”

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Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:  “If he really wanted to juice, wouldn’t he buy the good stuff — the undetectable designer steroids and HGH — instead of some crude over-the-counter powder that is made from dried roots and bark? One expert even told the Sentinel that DHEA’s performance-enhancing capabilities are ‘not very effective.’ Are you telling me that in today’s high-tech world of chemical competition when Lewis could have easily purchased the Lamborghini of performance-enhancing drugs, he chose a cheap, obsolete 1985 Chevette instead? Sorry, but I don’t think so. Lewis, in my opinion, is guilty of stupidity more than chicanery. And, frankly, it’s hard to decide which indiscretion is worse. Seriously, why would any multi-millionaire athlete in a multi-billion-dollar league put any supplement into his body that has not been inspected and approved by the army of trainers and medical personnel NBA players have at their disposal? ‘I’ve been taking nutritional supplements and vitamins my entire career,’ Lewis said, ‘but now I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Before you put anything into your body, make sure to check with trained experts.’”

Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald:  “Early in the summer, Rose endured a couple rounds of bad publicity. First came news that the NCAA accused him of having a fraudulent SAT score before attending Memphis. In other words, he was charged with having someone else take the test for him. Memphis found no proof and stated its case before the NCAA in June. So far, no verdict has been announced. Nothing would affect Rose’s status as an NBA player, anyway. ‘That didn’t bother me at all,’ Rose said. ‘I know I didn’t do anything wrong. That was up to Memphis, what they had to do. Coach Cal (John Calipari) told me don’t worry about it.’ Rose then issued an apology for a photo taken at a college party, in which he apparently made gang-related hand gestures at the camera as a joke. ‘I’m not a kid anymore. I’m always in the spotlight,’ Rose said. ‘I’ve got to be the leader of this team. I can’t do foolish things anymore. It’s still tough, but I’m learning. When I go out in public, I can’t really act the way I want to act with my friends, kid around with them. It’s like I’ve got to grow up. I’m only 20.’”

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:  “As the season neared its end in April, point guard Rodney Stuckey openly spoke of taking more of a leadership role in his third season. The Cleveland Cavaliers  were dominating the first-round series and were exposing the Pistons’ season-long weaknesses. Stuckey said, in the future, he would be more vocal and speak out when things were going wrong. If the summer is any indication, he will try to be a man of his word. Immediately after first-year coach Michael Curry was fired June 30, Stuckey was the only Piston from last year’s team to comment publicly. He spoke with several media outlets and appeared on local radio to answer questions — definitely a sign of leadership. And with the team getting younger this off-season with the addition of Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Chris Wilcox and the subtraction of Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Allen Iverson, Stuckey should have room to grow in his leadership skills. ‘We can get on each other and get on each other’s butts,’ Stuckey said recently after throwing out the first pitch at a Tigers game. ‘When you have those vets on the team, they kind of … you really can’t say the things you want to say to them because they’ve been in the league 10, 12 years. So having the same age group is going to be good.’”

Branson Wright of The Plain Dealer:  “After the Cavaliers lost to the Magic in Game 6 of the conference finals, James walked off the court and didn’t shake hands with any of the Magic players and did not talk with the media. He was later fined by the NBA and apologized.  If allowed a do-over, James would change a few things. ‘I wouldn’t have done it the same,’ James said. ‘I would have [talked with] the media. Looking back on it, without you guys, there’s no LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tiger Woods or no Peyton Manning without the media.’ James, however, does not have any regrets about not shaking hands — a practice that is uncommon during 82 the regular-season games. ‘Shaking hands is not a big deal to me,’ James said. ‘It’s not being a sore loser; it’s moving on.’ Moving on and away from what happened has not been easy. James has been the subject of stories and blogs all summer. He has read them and he understands. I could see why people were talking about [walking off] because your job [the media] starts when mine ends,’ James said. ‘But as far as the dunk or whatever car I’m driving, some things you shouldn’t comment on and some things you should.’”

David Aldridge for  “During the 20-minute conversation, James expressed his excitement at playing with Shaquille O’Neal next season, calling him ‘godfather’ of the NBA players and recalling that O’Neal came to one of his high school games. And James said he would have no problem playing off the ball next season if it goes inside to O’Neal first. ‘I’ve never had a low-post presence since I’ve been in the league, he said. ‘I love it. I can defer to a teammate. If Shaq is going I’m OK, and if it’s one of those nights when he isn’t feeling it, I can take over … I know one thing that’s going to happen: You can’t check Shaq one on one. I can use some of my athleticism when a double team comes and slash to the rim. He’s a very good passer so he’ll just throw it at the rim and I’ll go get it. If I catch the ball in the spot-up (position) I can either drive it or pass it. You’re at my mercy.’ James was non-committal on the issue of whether he’ll re-sign with the Cavaliers after this season, though he said that he loved playing in Cleveland and had no reason to leave, given the team that general manager Danny Ferry has assembled around him and the rabid fan support the Cavaliers receive at Quicken Loans Arena.”

Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune:  “Matt Harpring, who has been Boozer’s teammate for the last five seasons, agrees with Eaton. ‘It’s a matter of professionalism when you are at this level,’ Harpring said. ‘I’ve been on a lot of teams where people have said a lot of things in the summer time. But when it comes down to winning games — once you have your team [together] — you have to be professional and try to win. That’s the bottom line in this league — winning — and you want to give yourself the best chance of that. You’ve got to believe, with Carlos or without Carlos, we can still win.’ Tom Nissalke, a former NBA Coach of the Year who guided the Jazz for 21/2 seasons, believes Boozer’s on-court performance would be the key to his reception by fans and teammates. Referring to the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and his first game after admitted steroid use, Nissalke said, ‘If Boozer comes back, I think the same thing will happen that happened with A-Rod. ‘When he was announced the first time, there was a crescendo of boos. But on the first pitch — boom — he hits it over the wall. Those people didn’t even get a chance to sit down before he changed their mind.’”

Yannis Koutroupis of HOOPSWORLD:  “Ultimately the Lakers are going to go as far as their leader, Kobe Bryant, takes them. There’s no argument anymore as to who the best player in the league is, Kobe’s retaken the crown and is eager to accumulate as many championships as possible. The day will come when Kobe hangs up his jersey and calls it a career though. Thankfully for the Lakers and Kupchak that day isn’t coming anytime soon. ‘I think Kobe can continue to play at a high level for years to come,’ said Kupchak confidently. ‘Obviously you’re referring to that fact that he’s gonna turn 31. He didn’t play college basketball which is 30 to 35 games a year. He came into the NBA as a 17-year old. You’re not playing 35 games; you’re playing 82 plus 8 pre-season, plus playoffs. So you’re probably playing 100 games a year, so there is a lot of mileage on Kobe. I’ve see no signs of Kobe slowing down. I think if we can continue to surround him with players that he can rely on and can make it easier for him, I think he can continue to play. Remember we had Kareem Abdul Jabbar here, who many people thought was coming to the end of his career in his mid-30’s and he ended up playing because of Magic and Worthy, Cooper, Byron Scott, McAdoo and Rambis, he ended up playing until he was 40 years old plus.’”

Cindy Murphy of the Orange County Register:  “Shaq says his mom always told him ‘Make them remember your name … for all the right reasons, of course’. Shaq’s good name will always be remembered in Los Angeles for his thundering dunks as a 3-time NBA Champion Los Angeles Laker, and now he will be remembered for another good reason, being green. ‘Ethanol’ is my new name,’ said O’Neal proudly, ‘Big Eth.’ Shaquille O’Neal has become an investor in GreenHouse, a San Diego based alternative green energy company. GreenHouse delivers sustainable fuel in an E-Fuel MicroFueler, a portable in-home micro-refinery system that turns organic waste into ethanol. Yes, that’s right, a portable in-home system. You can actually pump the fuel into your car while it sits in your driveway. Shaq says that his family has always been interested in ways to be green and feels he has found a good fit with this product. ‘I believe in this company and invested in it, said O’Neal.”

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:  “Those days of focusing mainly on where the basketball bounces are over. The National Basketball Association — and particularly small-market franchises such as the Grizzlies — is increasingly becoming a bottom-line business. Payrolls and salary-cap implications suddenly mean as much as pick-and-roll defenses and slam dunks. It’s no longer just a game seemingly played with Monopoly money, as every professional league can attest, given the economy’s fragile state. To that end, the NBA began negotiating this week with its players’ union on a labor agreement that would replace the one that expires June 30, 2011. Owners want a larger piece of the revenue pie as commissioner David Stern reported that more than half of the league’s 30 teams are losing money. The Grizzlies aren’t one of them. Despite losing roughly 72 percent of their games over the past three seasons, the Griz function with a balance sheet that is tolerable. Team officials say the Griz are operating in the black, overcoming average attendance figures in the league’s bottom third and skimpy overall local revenue streams over the past few seasons. The Grizzlies decline to reveal the profit margin.”

One Response to “The Fundamentals”

  1. Steve Says:

    While no one knows for sure what goes on inside someone else’s head, it’s hardly unfair to assume that RL looked up DHEA on the internet and read about it!

    DHEA is produced by the body as a precursor to testosterone. Therefore it doesn’t show up on tests and the only evidence you have taken it is elevated levels of testosterone. Therefore its a pretty safe to believe someone taking it might think they could get away with it, at least for a short period of time. And YES elevating your level of testosterone is performance enhancing – at least according to every sports body out there! The fact DHEA isn’t regulated in the US isn’t relevant. The fact that is debate as to how effective DHEA is as a performance enhancer is equally not relevant.

    And just a minor detail, assuming again RL can find the internet, DHEA is supposed to help older adults, whose bodies no longer produce as much or any DHEA, to aid in restoring levels of hormones found when one was younger – thus “feeling” better for it. Athletes taking DHEA are taking 30 to 60 times the dose recommended to get the impact desired. Their bodies already produce lots of DHEA on their own and mega doses are needed to have an impact and the amount you’re going to get in your after-shave cream (as some apologists point to as an excuse) isn’t going to do it).

    Maybe RL is an idiot who didn’t know what he was doing and didn’t bother to check, its just hard to believe. He seems like a bright young man.