Monday, January 22, 2007

Lakers Trainer: Steroids Would Not Enhance Performance of NBA Players

From Franz Lidz's interview with Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti at Baseball has outlawed steroids and amphetamines. Would either of those drugs enhance a player's performance in the NBA?

Vitti: Not at all. The biggest high I see is from caffeine. Some supplements are loaded with it. Caffeine gives a player a heightened feeling of what's going on around him. But if you take enough of it, there's a downside. Caffeine can be a laxative, so you're running to the bathroom, and it's diuretic, so it can dehydrate you. It can also make you very irritable. Some research suggests that caffeine enhances the metabolism of free fatty acids. But I don't see it as a supplement that would enhance performance.

"Not at all"? Having the benefits of steroid use—namely, being bigger, stronger and faster—would not make NBA players better?

Maybe Vitti was focusing on the "amphetamines" portion of the question. Or was he deliberately ignoring the "steroids" part? Vitti goes on to cite "protein and carbohydrate supplements" as substances that would help NBA players the most.

Currently the NBA's biggest substance problem would seem to be marijuana. It will be interesting to see if anyone bothers investigating whether basketball players take steroids.