John Salley once thought he would get kicked out of the NBA for failing a drug test after kissing a woman who visited him in his house.
"Because you wanted to do cocaine!"
John Salley made a guest appearance on Byron Scott's podcast and mentioned a funny anecdote about a girl who visited his house. The former Detroit Pistons big man claimed the girl took her time in the bathroom, and he thought she was doing cocaine, to which she said she didn't. The truth revealed itself later on in the night.
The girl admitted she fell asleep in the bathtub, but Salley's brother called cap and asked if she was doing blow. Then John kissed her and realized she was lying.
"So, anyway I kissed her and my tongue goes numb. She goes, 'Oh, did something come out?' I was so panicked I was like, 'They're gonna test me. Oh my God, I'm going to be kicked out of the league because you wanted to do cocaine!'"
Salley, luckily wasn't tested, and he enjoyed a career that spanned 12 years. He never played in an All-Star game, but he won four titles playing for three teams: L.A. Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and Detroit Pistons.
Consequences of drug use in the NBA
If that episode had happened now, the consequences could have been far-reaching. Many NBA players have been banned from the league for life because of drug use, including OJ Mayo and Tyreke Evans. As much as the NBA wanted to ban cocaine, the truth is many players use cocaine regularly.
It was estimated that players from 40 percent to 75 percent use cocaine. General managers admit that they found some players guilty of it. Cocaine alleviates fatigue and elevates players' mood, which are scarce benefits in a high-pressure environment.
Is there a growing cocaine problem in the NBA? Owners admit it is a concern worth looking to. But players are not risking doing it during a game. Its effects are known to last 20 to 30 minutes, meaning players must do it during halftime. "Nobody wants to take a chance on getting caught or being in a position where he would blame a game loss on coke," an anonymous player revealed in an interview with The Washington Post.
NBA executives should start looking at it before the issue snowballs into bigger problems. Admitting there is a cocaine problem is a good start and a step in the right direction.