Performance enhancing drugs have become the scourge of every sport.
While the NBA remains defiant about PED use in its sport, it exists there too. Just ask Hedo Turkoglu, O.J. Mayo and Rashard Lewis — all pled ignorance.
David Stern has said PEDs are not a problem in his sport because being buff or muscular is not important. But that is not why athletes use PEDs. They use them largely to recover quicker. They use them so they can work out harder and longer and be ready for another work out the next day.
Nothing illustrates this point more than Tracy McGrady's story.
On a recent episode of NBATV's Open Court, McGrady admitted he considered using PEDs to help him recover from his various knee injuries. He never "crossed that line" as he said, but he was determined enough to find a way back to being healthy for the thought to seriously cross his mind (h/t Jake O'Donnell of the Sports Grid):
It was kind of a shocking revelation from McGrady and an extremely honest moment from an NBA player who had injuries take away much of his career and much of what made him great. It is easy to see in his case why the allure of a short cut — or even a medical boost — would click.
These athletes are driven to be the best and they want to hold onto that as long as they can. When your body takes that away from you, you want it back any way you can.
McGrady is not alone in that universe. There are certainly players who do not view PEDs as reprehensible and would take that road. McGrady said in that episode that he was the one who turned Kobe Bryant on to the blood spinning treatment he receives in Germany. That was among the "everything" McGrady tried to get back to the NBA.
The use of performance enhancing drugs is certainly a matter for debate. It gets sports people all hot and bothered, but there is moral ambiguity about it — what is performance enhancing and what is not?
McGrady's statement seems to suggest that.