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Marijuana, alcohol are an NBA problem

Marijuana smoking and heavy drinking are rampant in the NBA, involving 60 percent to 70 percent of the players, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The estimate is based on statements made to the newspaper by players, former players, agents and basketball executives in more than two dozen interviews. One agent said the figure may actually be higher."No one can really know, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's 70 percent," Dallas guard Robert Pack said.

"You don't follow guys home, but just from what you hear I think it's closer to 70 percent," Orlando guard Derek Harper said.

Marijuana is not covered by the league's substance abuse policy, which has been in effect without major modifications since 1984.

Commissioner David Stern has said recently he would like to have a drug policy that includes marijuana.

"That substance can impair people and cause them to be guilty of criminal conduct. We don't want that," Stern said in a recent interview. "I think it's incumbent upon us to make a statement about it."

The players' union has resisted a marijuana policy, saying all its members shouldn't come under increased scrutiny because of the transgressions of a few players.

Three players - Allen Iverson, Isaiah Rider and Marcus Camby - were involved in marijuana-related cases over the summer. Another player, Mookie Blaylock, was arrested in Canada last season when customs officers caught him with marijuana.

"Marijuana is not tested for, and yet that is the big thing guys are getting in trouble with in the league. It's terrible," Utah Jazz star Karl Malone told the Times.

"What you're saying to the young kids playing in college is this: Smoke all the pot you want because it won't be detected until you are picked up by the cops and it's all over the newspapers."