David Stern says blood testing for HGH is coming to the NBA. (Greg Nelson/SI)
By Ben Golliver
Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday that he expects the NBA will follow Major League Baseball's lead by adopting blood testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
"We watch what's going on in baseball, we watch the negotiations that are going in with football, and it is my expectation that by next season [we] will be doing blood testing for HGH," Stern told WCCO radio in Minnesota. "Our players have been terrific. They lead this in some ways, saying, ' We do not want to have anything less than the best.' That's been the way it's been since 1983."
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.
"If I say I don't have a concern, everyone says I'm a Pollyanna," Stern said. "I don't have any reason to know one way or another. My guess is and my hope is that it's not widely used in the NBA."
MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced in January that his league would begin in-season testing for HGH.
"This is a proud and a great day for baseball," Selig said. "We'll continue to be a leader in this field and do what we have to do."
Last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that he expects HGH testing to be implemented before next season.
"I believe that HGH testing is going to happen prior to the 2013 NFL season," Goodell said, the Denver Post reported. " It's the right thing to do for the players, for their health and well-being long-term. It's the right thing to do for the integrity of the game. It's also the right thing to do to send the right message to everybody else in sports. You don't have to play the game by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The science is there."
ESPN.com reported in January that Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings has urged the NBA to begin implementing HGH tests "right away" because testing is now considered reliable.
Stern also joked Wednesday that he personally does not use performance-enhancing drugs.
"I don't take them," he said. "I just want you to know, if you want to come here and test me, I'm ready. ... You won't find anything."