The news Thursday that All-Star forward Rashard Lewis had been suspended by the NBA for 10 games for violating the Anti-Drug Program was like a bad wake-up call.
Lewis tested positive recently for an elevated testosterone level, which is common among steroid users, and he will miss the first 10 games of the regular season without pay. The NBA issued the suspension Thursday.
According to league sources, Lewis was taking a supplement that contained a substance called Dehydroepiandrosterone, a chemical found in several over-the-counter products at nutrition stores. The substance is banned by most sports leagues, including the NBA.
Lewis issued the following statement through the Magic, who have not yet commented on the suspension:
NBA players are randomly tested four times each season under the league's Anti-Drug Agreement. The first positive test for steroids or any performance enhancing drug results in a 10-game suspension. The second positive test is a 25-game suspension and the third positive test would be a one-year suspension.
The Magic are coming off their finest season in history, a spot in the NBA Finals and a summer of optimism that included the addition of All-Star Vince Carter, along with role playing forwards Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes.
With a goal this season of winning the championship, they are set to move into a sparkling new downtown arena for the 2010-11 season.
Lewis, an 11-year veteran, was coming off his second All-Star appearance, carving his niche as one of the finest 3-point shooters in the league. The Magic's recent success has elevated them among the league's elite, as evidenced earlier this week by the national TV schedule that included 29 Magic games, most in franchise history.
In his absence for the first 10 games, the Magic likely will move Mickael Pietrus into his starting spot, alongside Bass at forward.