Ex-NBA Player John Salley Feared For His Career After Strange Run-In With Cocaine

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Former NBA power forward John Salley doesn’t kiss and tell. However, a recent interview with former player / coach Byron Scott detailed a time he feared for his career after locking lips with a lady far too deep in key bumps.

Salley recounted one night during his playing years when a female visitor used his bathroom to powder her nose and fell asleep in the bathtub.

The 6-foot-11 player pressed her on whether she was using cocaine, which she denied. Salley said that later on that night he kissed the woman and felt that his tongue had gone numb.

After he connected the dots, Salley realized that the woman had indeed been using cocaine, which was bad news for the player and the NBA’s anti-drug policy. Salley admitted to freaking out over a potential drug test that would sideline his career.

1986 NBA Draft

“So, anyway I kissed her and my tongue goes numb,” Salley told Scott. “She goes, ‘Oh, did something come out?’ I was so panicked I was like, ‘They’re gonna test me. Oh my God, I’m going to be kicked out of the league because you wanted to do cocaine!’

Two players in the 80s received lifetime bans for cocaine: New Jersey Net Micheal Ray Richardson and Houstons’ Rockets Mitchell Wiggins.


Needless to say, Salley was not tested and enjoyed a lengthy career until 2000. Salley was a first-round pick by the Detroit Pistons in 1986.

As relayed by The Basketball Network, cocaine use in the NBA had grown rampant around the 80s, with an estimated 40 to 75 percent of players cited as regular users of the drug.

It’s a helluva drug.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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