NBA Commissioner David Stern is expecting next season to be the first in which the league will perform drug testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This shouldn't be too surprising as Major League Baseball and the National Football League are already on board to get the testing done in their sports, which just left the NBA to jump on the bandwagon.
The NBA has been exploring the issue for some time. In Dec. 2011, after the conclusion of the lockout, NBA.com reported that HGH testing would be phased in once a reliable testing procedure could be determined.
Stern said Wednesday that testing hadn’t been implemented to this point because “there hasn’t been a favored testing protocol yet” and stated that he didn’t believe the NBA has a serious problem with HGH, which is on the league’s list of banned substances. (SI.com/Ben Golliver)
While the NBA isn't known for its bodybuilder type physiques and steroid allegations, HGH may play a significant role in the league that we don't know of. Many players, like Andy Pettitte testifying before Congress that he used the substance, use it for injuries to heal faster.
In a league where the majority of the punishment is on the legs, it wouldn't be too surprising to hear about players using. At the same time, it wouldn't be a surprise if there wasn't a problem with the drug either. Basketball does involve some strength, but it's more of a mental game especially in this era. Teams are going more athletic and versatile, with the term "big man" referring to a position instead of the actual characteristic of a player.
There may be some allegations of some older players playing like their getting younger over older and that may draw some criticism, but the work ethic of the veterans should be appreciated until something is found out instead of just spreading allegations. This precaution by Stern is the best decision he could make. While he's not the most popular out of the Big 3 sports commissioners, he's certainly had the most positive record from the other three. He's expanded the game throughout the world and marketed the business to be a multi billion dollar league and he knows solidifying the image of the league will only make it more profitable.