Top 10 NBA Stars That Failed A Drug Test In the USA

Top 10 NBA Stars That Failed A Drug Test In the USA


The NBA has faced many problems over the past few decades, from Michael Jordan's gambling habit to the disastrous trial of one of their most talented young stars, Lamar Odom. Crime is not an unusual topic in America, but this Top 10 list will hopefully provide you with some valuable insight about the significance of drug testing in the NBA.

Starting at number 1 and working to number 10, ten professional basketball players have failed drug tests while playing for American teams. Furthermore, each player was tested for a different illegal substance.

Table of Contents:

  • Lamar Odom
  • Mitchell Wiggins
  • Richard Dumas
  • John Lucas II
  • William Bedford
  • Chris Washburn
  • Micheal Ray Richardson
  • Lewis Lloyd
  • Chris Andersen
  • OJ Mayo
  • Lamar Odom

    Lamar Odom's career began to unravel in 2011. After winning two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Baron Davis, Jack Nicholson, and Michael Beasley. 

    The former All-Star would find himself playing for four different teams within two years before finishing his career playing in China last season. Lamar Odom's struggles with addiction first made headlines when he was arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles in 2013. 

    This arrest was the first time that the world saw his addiction issues. Furthermore, to make things worse, he refused to cooperate with police investigators as well as for drug testing, which ultimately led to his arrest. 

    Lamar was sentenced to probation of three years and ordered to pay almost $100,000 in fees. During that time, reports suggested that he had used cocaine for at least the previous two years. 

    Lamar got another chance at rehab, this time in Los Angeles under the guidance of Dr. Drew Pinsky. However, after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel while shooting a commercial, Lamar was imprisoned for seven months. 

    He had massive amounts of cocaine in his system, which led to the assumption that he was using drugs while in prison. He was released this past December and has since kept a low profile. 

    Lastly, very few people know about this, but Lamar failed a drug test while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. The test took place after a game against the Toronto Raptors, and he tested positive for Oxycontin and Oxycodone (a prescription painkiller). 

    Lamar had enough drugs in his system to throw him out of the game, which is why he was given a suspension. Knowing that Lamar has spent seven months in prison due to drug use, it is easy to see that he has a drug addiction problem.

    Mitchell Wiggins

    Mitchell Wiggins, the father of NBA stars such as Andrew and Nick, is a Canadian-born American basketball player. He was drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984, and although he did not play for them, he did play for six other teams. 

    In 1996, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed him on a one-year deal. He ended up playing 28 games for the team, in which he averaged 10 points in 19 minutes per game. Mitchell Wiggins' drug abuse was not constant throughout his career, but he did test positive for cocaine use during the off-season in 1987 while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. 

    Following the incident, Wiggins was suspended for eight games. His drug abuse then became serious during his time with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1989. He also tested positive for cocaine at that time but failed to play for the team because of suspension. 

    In 1992, he admitted to cocaine use while playing for the Orlando Magic. He was then suspended for one year by the NBA, but it did not stop him from continuously testing positive. In 1995-96, Wiggins tested positive three times while playing for the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. 

    Furthermore, he remains in the public domain due to his high rate of failed drug tests.

    Richard Dumas

    Richard Dumas is one of the NBA's most famous drug offenders since he has spent eighteen years in the NBA, playing for both the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs. Being undrafted out of college, he spends his professional career bouncing between teams. 

    His career began in 1986 when he joined the Sacramento Kings. He dealt with drug abuse from a young age until when he was banned from the NBA. Dumas tested positive for cocaine for the first time during his first season with the Kings, but his second failed drug test occurred while playing for the San Antonio Spurs. 

    The NBA suspended him after testing positive, but he decided to enter a drug rehabilitation program rather than fight suspension. Furthermore, he retired from basketball to focus on his drug abuse problems.

    However, he later admitted to drug use during this time; he continued to use cocaine while playing for the Spurs. Dumas also said that he started using cocaine again once he retired from professional basketball. 

    Dumas has reportedly been in rehab at least five times during his career for drug abuse, with each attempt being more successful than the last. His latest attempt was at a facility in New Jersey, where he spent twelve weeks undergoing treatment.

    John Lucas II

    Lucas had a long basketball career, played for several teams, and was a part of the 1986 Rockets team that made it to the NBA Finals. Many people knew him as an athlete who played hard on the court and a person who was never afraid of challenges. 

    Unfortunately, John Lucas II can't be remembered just as an athlete. He became addicted to cocaine and alcohol after being drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1976. Lucas probably didn't imagine that his new career would bring him so much pain. 

    Even though he wanted to stay on the court and play, instead of stopping him from doing it, cocaine destroyed his career. Lucas was addicted to drugs for 14 years, and during this time, he had to check into drug rehabilitation centers seven times. 

    The addition of John Lucas II started with cocaine, but soon he became an addict to alcohol too. Therefore, he is best known for his addiction issues, just like many other Houston Rockets players of that era.

    William Bedford

    William Bedford is a former NBA player who had an excellent career with the Chicago Bulls. He originally started in college at Long Island University, where he played well enough to be drafted fifth overall by the Detroit Pistons in 1982 after just two years playing for them. 

    He was a significant contributor to the team that won the NBA championship in 1991 and even made it to the finals in 1992. He had a 14-year long and successful NBA career, and by all accounts, he was considered one of the best power forwards of his time. 

    However, his drug abuse was the cause of his eventual downfall. Bedford's drug problems started during his time with the Bulls. In a story told a few times on ESPN, Bedford was arrested for possession of 25 pounds of MMJ. 

    Bedford had already been involved in several other drug incidents and spent time in prison for them. Furthermore, in 2004, Bedford was condemned to jail for ten years in the wake of confessing to ownership of cocaine and with the intention to distribute. 

    He was then released in 2011 from jail. Bedford's struggle with drug addiction and his career ended simultaneously, and their relationship was undoubtedly intertwined. He had a brilliant career with the Chicago Bulls, but drugs left after his mid-career. 

    Chris Washburn

    The Atlanta Hawks drafted NBA player Chris Washburn with the first overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He was a high-flying, physical specimen; he had an incredible rookie season, averaging 18 points per game and straining opponents near the basket. 

    However, his NBA career was cut short by an addiction to drugs. He was a 6-foot-11 addict roaming on the streets of his hometown looking for drugs. In 1989, Chris Washburn had already failed three drug tests in the NBA, which banned him for life. 

    He admitted to using drugs in his rookie season and was briefly suspended until he passed a drug test. He also admitted using PCP eight days before the draft and smoking MMJ an average of three times per week while in high school. 

    Chris Washburn had even spent time in jail on drug charges. In addition, Chris has been in and out of 14 rehabs over the years. However, after he was taken out of the NBA, Chris returned to Hickory for a few years. Lastly, Chris Washburn has had a rough life, but today is clean and sober.

    Micheal Ray Richardson

    Micheal Ray Richardson is an American former basketball player who played for multiple American Basketball Teams in the 1980s and 1990s. He played in the NCAA Division I, National Basketball Association (NBA), and Europe. 

    He was a victim of a tragic drug addiction that could not be overcome. From 1981-1986, Richardson was arrested several times for cocaine use and possession, driving under the influence, and driving without a license.

    In December 1983, Richardson had been to three drug medication facilities in five months and postponed by the New Jersey Nets. Soon, he was arrested twice for drug offenses. In April of that year, he lost his one-year license suspension and played for the New York Knicks. 

    Richardson even signed a contract toward the beginning of September, had contributed in an NBA against drug video entitled Cocaine Drain, and, as indicated by Net authorities, passed all of the week after week drug tests commanded by his agreement. 

    But all of this was short-lived until he relapsed once again. In 1986, NBA official David Stern restricted Richardson from the NBA for life after three positive drug tests. He would be allowed a second opportunity in 1988. However, he was kicked out of the association again for two more positive drug tests for cocaine. 

    Richardson did and still questions the outcomes. When he declared himself a cocaine abuser, the NBA commissioner Stern reacted by banning Richardson from the association forever.


    Lewis Lloyd played for the University of Louisville and won a national championship in 2008. After college, he became one of the most prolific scorers for the Indiana Pacers and then went on to play for the New York Knicks. 

    After his stint with the Knicks, he started going through a painful period of drug addiction that brought him into a spiral that ended in three separate arrests. Lewis Lloyd was a basketball player who held outstanding records while he played for the University of Louisville. 

    He played for the Cardinals from 2004-2008 and was known as one of the most ferocious dunkers in college basketball. Lewis Lloyd started using drugs in college. His love for cocaine grew so much that he was caught with the drug on him multiple times while playing for the University of Louisville. 

    The school never revealed it, but they did give him an ultimatum that if he kept getting into trouble with the law, he would be dismissed from the team. In January of 1987, Lloyd was suspended from the NBA and had to partake in a drug rehab program. 

    Llyod failed a urine drug test for cocaine by testing positive with having a higher amount of the drug in his system than was allowed. The NBA suspended him for five games without pay following this incident. 

    In September of 2010, Lewis Lloyd was pulled over and pulled out a bag of cocaine and told the officer that he was going to use it. This time he was charged with possession and intent to distribute. 

    Lloyd then turned himself into the NBA drug program and underwent another drug test that showed an amount of cocaine in his system that would have been problematic if he was still playing professionally.

    Chris Andersen

    Chris Andersen was a professional basketball player who played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), and Miami Heat. He was also a two-time winner of the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award. 

    He was a top-rated player among the fans, especially for his spectacular dunks. In addition to being famous as a professional basketball player, his life has been full of ups and downs. In 2006, Chris Andersen violated the NBAs anti-drug policy by testing positive for cocaine, which he had consumed on the night of the first game of the 2006–07 season, due to which he was disqualified. 

    He was then ordered to undergo counseling and treatment. Additionally, he was suspended for two games. Chris Andersen, however, remains to keep mum on the subject to this day. The drugs on the list were meth, coke, 6-MAM, and PCP. 

    Furthermore, Andersen went to rehab, passing a drug test weekly for two years to return to the NCB. Andersen was then reinstated to the NBA in 2008. Upon being reinstated, his drug rehab process ended after he finished the rehab. 

    He has also admitted to prescription drug use in the past, taking painkillers prescribed for a chronic back injury. He claims to have never failed another drug test after returning to the league.

    OJ Mayo

    OJ Mayo is an American professional basketball player for the UNICS Kazan of the VTB United League. Mayo was a top-ranked high school basketball star in 2007 and was the subject of a bidding war among colleges. 

    He accepted a scholarship from USC, but he decided to enter the 2008 NBA Draft after his freshman year at USC and became eligible for selection by any team that wanted him. However, in July 2016, OJ Mayo was suspended for two years from the NBA, ultimately prompted as the most extended suspension in NBA history. 

    Mayo was suspended because he violated NBAs anti-drug policy by testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, which later he blamed on an energy drink. Furthermore, Mayo was eligible for reinstatement around the start of the 2018–19 NBA season.

    Summing Up

    Thus, an examination of those ten players presented that some players got into drug abuse after making some mistakes during their playing time. In some cases, the players were caught on the wrong foot and lost their way.

    However, as mentioned earlier, drugs are not a new phenomenon among sportspersons. Sportspersons or professionals on this list of ten players that tested positive for drugs had their chances limited by the anti-drug policy of the NBA. Their attempts to continue their careers were limited due to their drug addiction issues.


    What is the NBA's drug testing policy?

    NBA drug-testing policy is for the protection of athletes and general fans. The NBA drug policy states that any player who tests positive for drugs can be suspended under the league's drug abuse terms. 

    The policy examines physical fitness, cellular tissue tests, blood tests, and urine tests to determine whether an athlete is using performance-enhancing drugs or not. 

    The NBA drug policy further prohibits the use of drugs by the players in the off-season. Players must never possess, use, or buy any prohibited drug away from the court.

    What types of drugs are prohibited under the NBAs drug test policy?

    The NBA drug policy has a lot of prohibited drugs under which an athlete can be suspended. Such prohibited drugs include amphetamines, benzodiazepines, alcohol, cocaine, MMJ, and steroids tests.

    Additionally, if a player continuously tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs, they might face the consequences.

    What are the Rights and Responsibilities of NBAs players?

    NBA players have been required to adhere to the NBA's drug policy at all times. In addition, players are not allowed to use any prohibited drugs during their career in the NBA. In addition, NBA players are prohibited from manufacturing or distributing these prohibited drugs. 

    Furthermore, the NBAs athletes cannot use any of them under any circumstance in which it is prescribed by a doctor or prescribed by a medical professional following their prescription.

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