Marcus Williams, a guard in the Chinese Basketball Association since 2010 after somewhat of a journeyman career in the NBA, has been suspended for marijuana use by the CBA in what league officials are saying is the first time a professional basketball player has been suspended for doping in China, according to Chinese outlet Xinhua News Agency:
Williams, 26, played for the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons and will now serve a six-month suspension from the league. He has also been fined the equivalent of approximately $1,500. The CBA season kicked off Nov. 24 and ends Feb. 17 so his suspension will essentially be for the remainder of the season:
"To all the CBA fans, Shanxi fans, sponsors, as well as my coaches and players I sincerely apologize. I have let a lot of people down and I regret it more then anything. I understand everyone's disappointment and I will do everything to improve and grow from this."
Williams averaged 32.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season, so the suspension is a huge blow for the team as it now looks to move forward without him.
The CBA said it has no tolerance for doping and that these kinds of tests will become more frequent:
"We should learn from this lesson, to conduct more tests, to improve our regulations. We won't tolerate doping."
Williams had brief stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers before signing with the Chinese Basketball Association. As a freshman at the University of Arizona, he was the second leading scorer for the Wildcats in 2005-06.