NBA players get drug tested
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Why NBA Players Get Drug Tested: All You Need To Know

The Anti-Drug Agreement in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between NBA and NBPA since 1983 specifies that NBA players are tested four times per season. Once during training camp (pre-season), twice during the regular season, and once after the final game of the NBA.

Drug testing in NBA began back in 1983 when NBA players were being accused of using drugs by the media.

NBA drug tests are performed to ensure that all NBA players are clean and healthy for their games. There is a lot of talk about what substances NBA players can be tested for. But there’s not much information out there on how they’re picked for the test, or how often they get tested.

It’s no surprise that NBA players get drug tested in the NBA. Since there has been a history of players testing positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs! If you’re curious about what substance can lead to failed tests. Or how they pick up NBA Players, then keep reading below.

We’ll cover all your questions on why do NBA players get drug tested? When did this start happening? How often does this happen? What exactly are they testing for when it comes to banned substances? Are refs included as well!? Read more now!

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What do NBA Players Get Drug Tested For?

NBA players get drug tested for NBA-banned substances. NBA has a list of NBA-banned performance-enhancing drugs that are prohibited for use by any NBA player, coach, or trainer. Some examples of these substances include anabolic steroids (AAS), stimulants like amphetamine and its derivatives, designer agents.

Such as diuretics and peptide hormones, masking agents to hide the presence of other doping substances in urine samples, antiestrogens. Which prevent testosterone from being produced naturally in the body after steroid use, etc

How Often Are NBA Players Drug Tested?

All NBA players subject themselves to four random tests per season throughout their careers with no notice given before they take the test. If you fail one test during your career. Then it is considered a failed test even if there were several months between tests.

A player is suspended for five games on the first failed test, ten games on the second failed test. And then they are subjected to NBA minimum penalty which includes a one-year suspension from NBA!

 NBA players get drug tested

NBA Players Can Be Drug Tested All-Year Round

International Games

NBA players also get drug tested in Olympic Games. Where NBA players represent their country by participating in international events such as FIBA World Cup or Olympics.

As per the International anti-doping agencies, it becomes mandatory for all elite sports athletes who wish to participate in these sporting events must comply with WADA rules & regulations if they want to be allowed to play at that level of competition!


NBA players can also be drug tested while traveling with their NBA teams. Or when visiting the NBA office in New York City during the off-season period. There is not much information out there about how often they’re picked up for testing.

But we do know that it’s done randomly without any notice given beforehand. So you never really know when you might have to take a test!

Are NBA Referees Drug Tested as Well?

All NBA/WNBA referees must go through the certification process every year. And they cannot officiate games unless they pass required tests which include anti-doping tests as well!

NBA/WNBA referees are also tested for NBA-banned substances during NBA Finals Games, NBA All-Star Game. And any other time league officials feel that it is necessary to test them.

What Happens if an NBA Player Fails a Drug Test?

NBA players who fail NBA drug tests are automatically disqualified from participating in FIBA competition. NBA players who fail NBA drug tests are also suspended from NBA for a certain number of games. Depending on how many times they have failed the NBA drug test.

If an NBA player fails the NBA drugs test more than once. Then he can be banned from playing in NBA or WNBA ever again!

 NBA players get drug tested

The Process of Drug Testing in the NBA (as part of the Anti-Doping Program)

NBA uses a standard steroid testing procedure that will be followed by any NBA representative at any time without warning and those representatives include NBA referees, coaches, trainers, or even players themselves if they’re chosen to represent their teams during random checks.

In addition to this, there is an advanced laboratory doping control program. That helps make sure all samples collected from various locations throughout the world get properly tested with the latest technology available.

So results can be known accurately & quickly about whether a player’s sample contains a prohibited substance or not!! NBA has an NBA-WADA agreement. Which ensures NBA players are regularly monitored by the NBA and WNBA as part of the anti-doping program.

What Drugs Are NBA Players Tested For?

As previously mentioned NBA-WADA agreement ensures NBA players are regularly monitored by NBA and WNBA. As part of the anti-doping program. Any NBA player that is selected to participate in an NBA event must comply with NBA anti-doping rules.

Or that NBA player will be disqualified from participating in any professional league such as NBA, WNBA, etc.

All banned substances including performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids (AAS). Stimulants like amphetamine and its derivatives. Designer agents such as diuretics and peptide hormones, etc. are prohibited for use by any NBA player. Throughout their career without exception!!

There is a list of all the banned substances on the official website. Which includes more than 100+ different kinds of products & methods! It’s not just about what kind of drug we’re testing NBA players for.

But the NBA drug test also tests players’ blood and urine samples to ensure they don’t have any vascular/heart issues. Which may be a result of the use of certain drugs!

Has an NBA Player Ever Failed a Drug Test?

There have been NBA players who failed NBA drug tests in the past. A few of them include Chris Webber, Rashard Lewis, and OJ Mayo!

Currently, other recent NBA players who were playing under suspensions for failing NBA drug tests include star players like Milwaukee Bucks’ Larry Sanders (backup center), New York Knicks J.R Smith (former shooting guard) & Iman Shumpert (swingman), Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins (center/power forward), Detroit Pistons Greg Monroe(Center). These NBA stars were all suspended at some point during their career due to repeated violations of anti-doping rules!!

 NBA players get drug tested

It’s important to note that every one of these guys had infractions with the league before they were drug tested for NBA drugs. They had to receive multiple warnings before actually being suspended!

The NBA players who fail NBA drug tests are automatically disqualified from participating in FIBA competition, and they’re also suspended from playing NBA or WNBA ever again!!

It’s not just because of their careers that NBA players get drug tested but there is the fair play aspect as well which ensures that every player gets equal opportunities & treatment under NBA rules.


In conclusion, we hope this blog post helps you understand why NBA players get drug tested and how often do they take these tests during their careers as elite sports athletes. We didn’t even scratch the surface with information about international competitions and off-season testing since there’s just too much to cover but we tried our best!

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