15 Sports Stars Who Were Addicted To Drugs
An athlete has to stay in tip-top shape at all times. Their bodies are fine tuned instruments that need to perform at high levels. Sometimes athletes forget that, and decide to participate in drug use. Whether it is for fun, to cope with depression, to take the edge off, or to give them an advantaged, athletes and drugs usually don’t mix. The combination doesn’t end well most of the time. There are some stories of athletes getting their act together and kicking the addiction, and there are some stories of athletes succumbing to it and ultimately paying with their lives.
Ricky Williams The NFL is known to be very strict when comes to drug use. Former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky White knows about that. Williams led the league in rushing with 1,853 yards in 2002. He was expected to be one of the greats. His career is overshadowed by multiple failed drug tests and suspensions. The former running back suffered with social anxiety, and self-medicated himself by smoking marijuana. His retirement in 2004 was seen as a conscious decision to choose weed over football.
Darryl Strawberry Darryl Strawberry’s drug use was a highly publicized affair. The media made sure everyone knew he was addicted to cocaine. Strawberry was suspended three times for drug use. After failing to show up for a Dodgers Spring Training game in 1994, he spent 28 days in rehab. In 1999, the four-time World Series champion was arrested for cocaine possession and soliciting an undercover police officer. In 2001 he went back to rehab, but was kicked out for having sex with fellow residents.
John Daly John Daly was a professional golfer, but he is far better known for his off-course antics than his swing. Daly was a heavy drinker, but managed to win two majors. His alcohol abuse got the best of him when he went six years without a victory. Known as the “bad boy” of the PGA Tour, Daly once claimed he drank a fifth of Jack Daniels per day.
Lawrence Taylor Lawrence Taylor has a pretty exciting life story. The part of it most people know about is his time in the NFL. He’s one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. LT was also a party animal. The New York Giants star was suspended in 1987 and then again the following year after testing positive for cocaine. Since his retirement, Taylor has been arrested twice for trying to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer.
Todd Marinovich Todd Marinovich was once a big-time quarterback prospect, but he’s now entirely famous for his drug and alcohol problems. At USC he was a star quarterback. Marinovich was drafted in the first round of the 1991 draft by the Los Angeles Raiders. His drugs of choice were an assortment of cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and LSD. Marinovich reportedly once shot up with heroin and smoked crack in the locker room during half time of a game.
Diego Maradona Diego Maradona is one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Maradona played for the Argentine national soccer team, making his national debut at the age of 16. All of that fame and access can have an unwanted effect on someone that young. Mardona was addicted to cocaine from the mid-80’s through the mid-2000’s. The Argentinian earned himself a 15 month ban from soccer after failing a drug test in 1991. Things only got worse after he retired, and he nearly died of a cocaine overdose in 2004.
Derek Boogaard Derek Boogaard was known as one of the best enforces and fighters in the NHL during his playing days. His skill in fighting on the ice earned him the nicknames of “Boogeyman” and The Mountie.” He was also voted the second most intimidating player in the NHL. There was one thing Boogaard could not fight and that was drugs. Boogaard became addicted to prescription pain medication. Tragically, a mix of oxycodone and alcohol led to his death in May 2011.
Andre Agassi Here is an example of what you can call a high functions drug addict. Andre Agassi was a tennis star who played at a very high level (pun intended). Despite battling drug addiction, Agassi won eight majors during his professional career. He’s admitted to having done crystal meth frequently during his career, but is still considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Dwight Gooden Dwight Gooden, also known as “Doc” or “Dr.K” entered the major leagues with a dominant and promising start to his career. It didn’t take long for Gooden to began abusing cocaine. He first failed a drug test in 1987 and then failed two more over the next couple of years. After winning the World Series with the Mets in 1986, Gooden failed to appear at the victory parade in New York because he was on a cocaine binge.
Roy Tarpley Roy Tarpley is a name that you may not be familiar with. He was always a good but not great player in the NBA. In 1988 he received the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Tarpley’s drug and alcohol addictions kept him from becoming a star player. In 1995, the NBA permanently banned Tarpley for his substance abuse after he piled up three DWI. He then played over seas where he was successful. Tarpley died at the age of 50 in January 2015, the medical examiner did not list a cause of death for Tarpley, who died at a hospital in Arlington, Texas
Bob Probert Probert was a successful hockey player by some measures. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings during his career. Probert is best known for being a fighter and enforcer during his 16 year playing career. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to flip the switch when he left the rink. His temper was due to his cocaine use. He became the first player in 40 years to be banned from the NHL, after he was arrested for attempting to smuggle cocaine across the U.S.-Canada border.
Theoren Fleury Theo Fleury was one of the smallest players in the league during his career, but he was big on drugs and alcohol. In 2001, Fleury was forced to enter the NHL’s substance abuse program. He later stated that the Manhattan life was too much for him because drugs were to easily accessible. Fleury was suspended prior to the 2003-04 season and after playing sparingly that year, he was suspended again at the end of the season, ending his career.
Len Bias This is just a sad story. Len Bias was a basketball star at the University of Maryland. He was an All-American player and the two-time ACC Player of the Year. He was that second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, selected by the championship team, the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately Bias would not be seen in a NBA game. Just two days after being drafted, Bias died of a cocaine overdose in his University of Maryland dorm.
Steve Howe Steve Howe played major league baseball as a relief pitcher for 12 seasons. Majority of those years he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. He was a rare, but exciting left handed pitcher. His drug abuse was a serious problem. He was suspended several time for breaking the leagues drug policy. Finally, in 1992, Howe became the first player in MLB history to be banned for life due to his drug addiction. Unable to shake his addiction, he flipped his pickup truck in 2006 while high in crystal meth.
Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton almost beat his drug and alcohol addiction. Hamilton got his start in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007. The next year he joined the Texas Rangers. The whole time he was addicted to drugs. His drug and alcohol problems resulted in several suspensions and him leaving baseball for a few years. He returned clean and was even named AL MVP in 2010. After a photo of Hamilton in a bar surfaced, he admitted he had relapsed in 2009. He had an alcohol relapse again in 2012 and relapsed on cocaine and alcohol in 2015. He is still playing in the league, but who knows for how long.