Substance of interest: Testosterone

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Updated on December 3rd, 2017
Reading Time: < 1 minute

TrueHoop has been investigating PEDs and the NBA all season. The next in a series:

Thanks to Lance Armstrong, Bill Simmons and others, NBA fans are thinking about performance-enhancing drugs in new ways.

And if the comments on or Twitter are any judge, the drug they're most concerned with is human growth hormone. When superhuman athletic performance is the topic, this seemingly magical new substance that they don't even test for in the NBA generally stars in the conversation.

But talk to people with deep first-hand knowledge of doping and HGH takes a back seat to testosterone.

It's a widely available substance that dopers from other sports put at the forefront of their regimens. It's all over baseball's Mitchell Report, the thoughts of Victor Conte (mastermind of the BALCO scandal that engulfed baseball and track) and cycling's various scandals.

And testosterone has several built-in advantages to the would-be NBA drug cheat.

The implications are big, and yet it's so easy to use.

It is sort of the lollipop of drug cheating, says Daniel Coyle, who co-wrote The Secret Race with cyclist Tyler Hamilton. That's the book that blew the doors open on the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, because not only did Hamilton cheat right along with his teammate Armstrong, but he also reformed himself and resolved to tell every little detail of how it happened.

To recover better between contests

"The Secret Race" has an important story about the first time Hamilton, who did not want to cheat, took banned drugs. At that stage of his career, Hamilton was fast enough to be a good pro cyclist on many days. But he simply couldn't recover fast enough between races.

Substance of interest: Testosterone

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