Drug abuse is a very rampant vice among professional athletes, the world over. The sad thing in all this is the repercussions are almost always dire, and have led numerous African, American, and European sportsmen to wreck their careers. Well, here are top 7 great sports persons that lost their credibility to drugs, who you should know.
1. Len Bias – Basketball
Bias was a famous NBA player who played for the University of Maryland. His all-round athleticism’ coupled with his exceptional basketball prowess, led many to liken him to the legend Michael Jordan. In the year 1986 NBA draft, Boston Celtics picked him. But then tragedy struck only 2 days later when he lost his life to a cocaine overdose.
2. Diego Maradona – Soccer
Many pundits regard Maradona as the all time greatest soccer player, besides Pele. He played for a number of elite clubs, including F.C Barcelona, SSC Napoli and Sevilla. He also played for Argentina in many international fixtures. The most notable was leading it to bag the 1986 World Cup. Yet despite his success on the pitch, Maradona had a number of drug issues. A chronic addiction to cocaine led to a 15-month suspension in 1991. During the famous 1994 World Cup, Maradona failed a drug test and was sent home packing. Ultimately, he retired from professional soccer in 1997 when tested positive to another drug test.
3. Steve Howe – Baseball
Howe was a 1st round pick by the Los Angeles – LA Dodgers in the 1979 MLB draft. Steve debuted at 22 yrs of age between 1980-81 season and went on to bag the prestigous National League rookie award. In the next season, he assisted the Dodgers to clinch the World Series. However, his promising career was suddenly derailed by his addiction to cocaine. In total Howe was suspended 7 times from playing by the MLB.
4. Darrl Strawberry – Baseball
Strawberry was the 1st overall pick during the 1980 MLB draft and was later chosen by the New York Mets. Darrl debuted in 1983 and bagged the coveted National League rookie award. From 1984 to 1991, he was featured in the MLB all-stars team consecutively. After the 1991 season , Strawberry had accumulated 280 lifetime homers’ , and many thought he had what it takes to get to the hall of fame. This sadly wasn’t to be. He started using cocaine, smoking marijuana and drinking heavily. This deadly combination wrecked his promising career. He would later be suspended a total of 3 times by MLB for using cocaine.
5. Dwight Gooden – Baseball
Gooden was drafted the fifth-overall in the famous 1982 MLB draft. He debuted for the famous New York Mets in the 1984 season at the 19 yrs old. He went on to bag the prestigious National League rookie award and even set a couple of rookie records. In 1994, he got a 60-day suspension for cocaine use and missed the whole 1995 season after testing positive while still in suspension.
6. Roy Tarpley – Basketball
Tarpley was chosen by Dallas Mavericks in the year 1986 NBA draft. He made it the all rookie-team in his very first season and bagged the NBA’s 6th man award in the following season. He continued to play for Mavericks until 1991, when he was later expelled from NBA due to cocaine relate issues.
7. Josh Hamilton – Baseball
Hamilton was the first-overall draft pick in 1999. He signed for the Tampa Bay Devil-Rays and got a record $3.96 million bonus. At the beginning of the 2001, he was regarded as the top prospect in the MLB. Yet in the 2003, Hamilton received a 25-day suspension for drug related issues. In the next year, he was suspended for 30 days for repeating the same offense.