The NBA is nearing an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association on testing for human growth hormone, ESPN reported Friday. Testing for HGH requires collecting blood samples from the players, which could begin as early as next season. The NBA's interest in HGH screening comes after Major League Baseball's agreement with its players' union to start testing for HGH and other banned substances. The NBA was hesitant in the past to make a decision because it believed the tests were invasive and unreliable, according to ESPN. Calls for the NBA and other professional sports leagues to begin HGH testing have come from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Congress. "Since the NBA agreed last year to start HGH testing -- and since professional basketball players already compete in the Olympics where they are subject to HGH testing -- there is no reason to delay HGH testing for the NBA itself," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in an email to ESPN. "My hope is that all our professional sports leagues implement HGH testing right away to set an example for millions of young athletes across the country who look up to them." The number of blood tests and a schedule have yet to be worked out between the union and the league. Players currently undergo six urine tests per year for other banned substances.
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- human growth hormone