The NBA has suspended New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada for 25 unpaid matches 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 the unconscious intake of the banned drugs as an offseason trip back to his Brazilian home and consultation with a nutritionist recommended to him.
“When I was in Brazil in the low season, I consulted a nutritionist, who recommended that 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 these drugs would be banned or contaminated. When I heard about the positive test, I immediately collaborated completely with the league and the union to help all of us understand what exactly happened.
“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 as they selected Zion Williamson. Louzada was part of the deal that sent No. 4 to Atlanta, where New Orleans also bought Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
“On behalf of the New Orleans Pelicans organization, we were disappointed to hear that Didi Louzada violated the NBA / NBPA Anti-Drug Program,” said David Griffin, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations, in a statement. “After talking to Didi, we are sure he understands the full seriousness of the situation and regrets the decisions that led to the suspension. We fully support Didi on and off the pitch 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 last season for the final few games of the 2020-21 campaign. This offseason, Louzada resumed with New Orleans on a multi-year 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