New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada suspended 25 games for violating NBA/NBPA’s anti-drug program

The NBA has suspended New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada 25 games without pay for violating the NBA/NBPA’s anti-drug program.

Louzada tested positive for drostanolone and testosterone.

In a statement to ESPN, Louzada, 22, described the source of unknowingly ingesting the banned substances as an offseason trip back to his Brazilian home and consultation with a nutritionist recommended to him.

“When I was in Brazil during the offseason, I consulted a nutritionist who recommended I take some vitamins and supplements,” Louzada said in the statement. “Because she has a history of working with professional athletes, I would never have imagined that any of those substances would be banned or could be contaminated. Once I learned of the positive test, I immediately cooperated completely with the league and union to help all of us understand what exactly occurred.

“I would never knowingly take anything that violates NBA rules. I accept my responsibility in this situation. I deeply regret that this happened and I apologize to my team, my teammates, and Pelicans fans for this mistake.”

The Pelicans drafted Louzada with the 35th pick in 2019, the same draft in which they selected Zion Williamson. Louzada was a part of the deal that sent the No. 4 pick to Atlanta in which New Orleans also acquired Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

“On behalf of the New Orleans Pelicans organization, we were disappointed to learn that Didi Louzada violated the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program,” David Griffin, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement. “After speaking with Didi, we are confident that he understands the full gravity of the situation and regrets the decisions that led to the suspension. We fully support Didi on and off the court as he learns and grows from this experience.”

Louzada spent two seasons with the Sydney Kings in the NBL before the Pelicans signed him in April of last season for the final few games of the 2020-21 campaign. This offseason, Louzada re-upped with New Orleans on a multiyear contract.

Louzada has played in five games in his NBA career and has also spent time this season with the Pelicans’ G League affiliate in Birmingham.

Information from ESPN’s Andrew Lopez was used in this report

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