The NBA seems to have a thing for drug testing its athletes after they have big performances on the court.
Sunday night, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard dropped 71 points against the Houston Rockets in one of the best-scoring nights in the history of the NBA. Lillard hit 13 three-pointers, shooting 22-of-38 from the field, scoring 41 points in the first half. His performance had Twitter on fire with Lebron James even tweeting about the historic accomplishment.
Immediately after the game, Lillard was required to take a random blood-drawn drug test by the NBA. During his post-game press conference, Lillard voiced his frustrations with the test, claiming it was his second in less than two days.
“I was like, ‘Are y’all serious?'” said Lillard. “I did the urine test yesterday, and then they backed it up with the blood-drawn tonight after the game — that’s actually my first time in my career being tested after a game.”
But Lillard isn’t the only NBA player who has been randomly drug tested immediately after posting historic games.
In early January, Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell found himself in a similar situation after he scored 71 points while also racking up 11 assists and eight rebounds. Mitchell announced on Twitter that he was drug tested by the NBA the following morning.
His fans called the NBA out for their testing, comparing Mitchell’s numbers to Luka Doncic’s and wondering if he’s been tested as well.
A few weeks later, Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant, who started off the season on a tear, revealed that he had been drug tested seven times during the short season, one after a big win over the rival Phoenix Suns. Before the seventh test, the Grizzlies were on a 10-game winning streak.
The NBA randomly drug-testing players after big games didn’t just start this year. In 2020, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal scored over 50 points in back-to-back games, then dropped 30 the night after. The next day he was randomly drug tested by the NBA.
“I guess the league don’t want me to score 50,” Beal said during his press conference. “I had a drug test today so, there you go.”
During the 2020 “bubble season” the NBA suspended random testing for marijuana but continued to test for human growth hormone and performance-enhancers, along with what the league calls “drugs of abuse” — such as methamphetamine, cocaine and opiates.
According to ESPN, all NBA players are subject to four random tests each season from October 1 to June 30. Players are also subject to two random tests during the off-season from July 1 to September 30.
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