For the 16 athletes that we have written about below, many of them reached the absolute pinnacle of their sport. In fact, several of them are in the Hall of Fame. But while the sports they played varies, one thing they all have in common? They've all been open about the fact that they couldn't keep their nose clean whether throughout their playing career, after, or in many cases both!
We can understand that there may not be a high quite out there like the adrenaline when the crowd goes crazy for you, but that definitely doesn't mean you should try and find that same feeling on a bathroom counter. Sadly our top three candidates all passed away from using cocaine, but they are by no means the only ones who are going to leave you shocked. Like how about Hulk Hogan included some snow alongside his daily vitamins, the three-hour snow party Mike Tyson had with Steve-O, or how about the fact that Doc Gooden was so coked out he forgot about the team's World Series victory parade? Can you also guess which former wrestler cost the WWE the most money on rehab? You won't have to guess for long as we also cover that below, and trust us, it involves some blow!
You'll be amazed at how many of these athletes openly admitted to doing drugs and the impact that it has clearly had on their lives and careers. Just because these guys may have been in tremendous shape, definitely doesn't mean they should have been destroying their bodies from the inside they way they have.
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17 Bret Hart - Did Powder To Fit In
When Bret Hart was starting to make a name for himself in the wrestling business, one of the biggest stigma's that he had to shake was that he wasn't just the promoter's son. One way to cut that stereotype quickly? Do some powder in front of your fellow wrestlers while partying it up, something Hart admitted to doing in his autobiography. In the story, Hart talks about how he walked into a party with a huge mountain of the drug, prompting him to do two lines. Hart goes on to write: "It was like I had something on them and they had something on me."
In his book, Hart did admit that as much of a factor of partying was, that women was a bigger vice for himself and that he was constantly cheating on his relationships.
16 Mike Tyson - Did Powder Before Fights, With Steve-O, and During The Hangover
Mike Tyson is one scary looking mother f'er, but could you imagine going face to face with him knowing he is pissed off and high on cocaine? That was definitely the case for some opponents as Tyson has admitted to being a full on cokehead (his words) at points in his career, including often doing drugs before matches and relying on a "whizzer" (a fake penis) to pass drug tests. Tyson's love with the powder continued into his retirement, including a story that Steve-O told earlier in 2016 about how he and Tyson went on a three-hour powder party.
In an interview when talking about his role in the movie The Hangover, Tyson also admitted to doing enough cocaine that it was severely impacting his voice and causing it to come out nasely. We can only hope Mike cleaned his act up for the subsequent films.
15 Jeff Hardy - Arrested in 2009
Jeff Hardy has always been known for the crazy things he has performed in the ring, but sadly his antics outside the ring are every bit as wild. Hardy has been arrested on several occasions, including an incident in 2009 in which cops found copious amounts of drugs at his home such as cocaine and opium.
Thankfully, Hardy seems to have been able to pull his life together and in 2012 spoke about his recovery from addiction: "It’s easy to get addicted, but if you never start, you’ll never have to stop. That’s the best advice I can give anybody. I’m back to a place now where I was before, where I don’t need a pill to go paint a canvas. That’s my new fix is doing it again. It took a while to get there, but I’m here, and I’m a father now as well. That’s another huge inspiration in my life."
At the very least with all the crazy bumps that Hardy has taken in his career, there is little doubt that he would need some type of assistance to cut back on that pain.
14 Lawrence Taylor - Used Three Times a Week, $1,000 a Day
Lawrence Taylor (Pictured Right) is considered by many people to be the greatest defensive player in the history of the NFL. This is all the more impressive when you consider what his career would have been had he not abused cocaine which also included two suspensions.
Taylor was able to keep off the powder after the second suspension in 1988, but it's easy to see how he got suspended when you consider he admitted that during the 1985 season he was using powder as much as three times a week.
After his retirement, Taylor went full-on again. This included spending upwards of $1,000 a day on the drug and escort services.
While he admitted that he doesn't think it impacted his play, he also said"
"I'd go through an ounce a day. And at times I'd be standing in the huddle. And instead of thinking what defense we were playing I'd be thinking about smoking crack after the game."
We suppose it's only natural to do some daydreaming at work, but it's a little more serious if you're fantasizing about drugs! Taylor also famously would send (often several) escort girls to the hotel rooms of his opponents the night before the game, along with the instructions that when the player would say he was getting tired that the girls were to ramp it up to an even hotter level.
13 Darryl Strawberry - Suspended Several Times
Below you're going to read a bit about Doc Gooden who was also a member of the 1986 New York Mets, which very well may have been the biggest "party team" in major league history. Evidence of this may be that former player Kevin Mitchell wrote about the fat rails of snow that players were doing after clinching the ALCS. I mean sure, great time to party but cocaine in the playoffs? Definitely not hearing about that in 2016.
Darryl Strawberry was one of their top players, but also one of their top partiers. Including three suspensions for powder use, the drug ruined Strawberry's personal life. Strawberry once said: "It led to a life of destructive behaviour, there's no question about it. My relationships with my first wife and second wife -- it tore people's lives up. Anyone who has an addiction problem is very selfish, very self-centered and it's strictly about them."
Strawberry has since completely turned his life around and now works as an ordained minister. This is not the first time Strawberry has turned to God, including several times in his career in which he said he was ready to control his behaviour and start fresh, but he would always fall off the wagon. There was also an incident in 2001 in which Strawberry disappeared for four days. Turns out he was just doing cocaine in a motel room.
Want to know just how extreme the Giants got in trying to calm him down? They convinced his brother who was an LAPD officer specializing in narcotics to quit his job and become Strawberry's chaperone, but it was not enough and after a positive cocaine test, the Giants dropped him.
12 Diego Maradona - Had a 20+ Year Addiction
The overall theme of this list for a lot of these players is that their career could have been so much bigger had they not abused drugs. Diego Maradona is well aware of that fact, saying in 2008: "Do you know what kind of player I would’ve been if I had not used cocaine? What a player we’ve lost! I have a sour taste in my mouth because I could have been a lot bigger! I assure you of that! I knew who I was going to be, what I didn’t know was that I was going to take cocaine.”
Maradona's battle with cocaine and alcohol addiction is well-documented. Allegedly starting in 1982 after he was transferred to play for Barcelona, Maradona was suspended on several occasions for using cocaine including a 15-month ban in 1991 that ended his career in Italian football.
Maradona kicked his addictions in 2004 but is still feeling the effects and in 2014 admitted: "I am 53 going on 78 because my life hasn't been normal. I’ve lived 80 [years] with the life I’ve gone through."
11 The Iron Sheik - Arrested Alongside Jim Duggan
The Iron Shiek not only struggled with drug addiction throughout his career, but it also appeared to be a pretty big factor in his retirement as well. One of the more notable incidents came in 1987 when "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was arrested for marijuana possession, but also in the car with him was The Sheik who just happened to be carrying some snow.
Sheik's drug habits were worrying to those around him, including friend Josip Peruzovic (better known for ring-name Nikolai Volkoff) who recalled saying to him: "'Man, you have to be careful and be good to your body. You're going to kill yourself.' He's a beautiful person with a big heart, but he didn't listen to me. He loved those drugs."
In 2005, Sheik temporarily lost his relationship with his wife Caryl who left after he was arrested for cocaine possession. When talking about the incident, Carly said: "I never stopped loving him. Never, not for one minute. But I just had to get him to stop [using drugs]," which to her credit she did say he has done.
10 Josh Hamilton - Suspensions, Rehab, and Partying
Josh Hamilton was one of the most exciting players in baseball, but sadly his off the field life proved all the more exciting for him on several occasions and will forever hinder his potential as a player. At the peak of his addiction that included cocaine and crack, Hamilton was also slamming back an entire bottle of Crown Royal on a daily basis.
Hamilton's life went off the rails when his parents (who were his chaperones) and himself were involved in a car accident in 2001, causing them to return to their hometown of North Carolina and leaving Josh alone.
Instead of bonding with teammates, Hamilton grew closer to a group of people at the local tattoo parlor. It is with these guys that Hamilton said he first did cocaine while they were partying in a strip club. Not long after Hamilton admitted to a psychologist that he was doing drugs, leading to an eight day stay at the Betty Ford Rehab Clinic. Hamilton struggled with addiction and rehab but in 2005 said he had a moment of clarity after his grandmother yelled at him, saying she was tired of watching him kill himself. She had good reason to be upset, Hamilton had just shot up in her house.
9 Hulk Hogan - Abused The Powder and "Pimped Out" His Wife
Oh boy Hulk Hogan, we knew you liked to talk about making sure you eat your vitamins but you probably didn't want to let on that YOUR vitamins involved some cocaine, eh? While this is one of the more unsubstantiated claims on here as Hogan refuses to comment, The Ultimate Warrior has come out and said that Hogan was constantly using cocaine during the '90s as well as pimping his wife out in the locker room. Yikes, talk about having a whole new reason for him to rip his shirt open!
Former wrestler Moondog Rex also admitted to using cocaine, as well as Quaaludes, steroids, and Placidyl (a sleeping capsule) with Hogan.
When ex-wife Linda was asked for comment on her husband's past drug history, she responded: "Wrestlers had a reason to do every kind of drug and narcotic around and help numb them from the pain of what they were doing," but did not go into specifics on what drugs he was abusing. One thing is for sure, Hogan definitely needed plenty of energy for his promos so we definitely wouldn't be shocked to hear some of that was supplied with some snow aid.
8 Michael Irvin - Cris Carter Tried To End His Marriage
Michael Irvin had plenty to party about when he was playing for the Dallas Cowboys in the '90s. In fact, some of the players rented out a house which they dubbed "The White House" where women were constantly walking around in birthday suits and drugs were allegedly plentiful.
On top of winning three Super Bowls, Irvin consistently put up numbers that rightfully earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. But that doesn't mean partying it up with mounds of cocaine as Irvin did, doesn't come with consequences. In 1996, Irvin pleaded no contest to a felony amount of cocaine possession which led to four years probation.
Irvin was also suspended from his job as an ESPN NFL analyst after being caught with a crack pipe that he said he was holding for a friend. Irvin also came out in 2014 ripping into former player Cris Carter who allegedly would go up to Irvin's wife and constantly try and convince her to leave him, citing his addiction to cocaine as the reason.
Thankfully for Irvin he was able to get his life cleaned up and currently works for the NFL Network.
7 Shawn Kemp - Arrested With Several Types of Drugs
When it comes to players that helped make a mark in Seattle for the Supersonics, Shawn Kemp is definitely as big a name as any. Sadly the end of Kemp's career and part of his retirement life was just as disappointing as the fact that the Supersonics left.
Kemp battled ann addiction to alcohol as well as cocaine and in 2000 was unable to finish the season for Portland after needing to enter rehab. Kemp was also unable to avoid legal trouble, getting arrested in 2005 with two kilos of cocaine, 60 grams of marijuana, and a semiautomatic pistol.
Kemp was able to clean up his life enough to own a sports bar in Seattle, but it closed in 2015 and it is not clear as to what he got up to in 2016.
6 Doc Gooden - Missed Victory Parade Because On Drugs
Perhaps the easiest way to describe how serious Dwight "Doc" Gooden's drug addiction got, was what he was doing instead of being with his team for the victory parade after the 1986 Mets won the world series.
“For myself a lot of times I get to a certain point of using drugs, the paranoia sticks in. So I end up leaving the party with the team, going to these projects, of all places in Long Island. Hang out there. Then you know what time you have to be at the ballpark to go into the city for the parade, but I’m thinking, ‘OK, I got time.’ And the clocks, I mean the rooms are spinning. I said, ‘OK, I’ll leave in another hour.’ Then the next thing you know the parade’s on and I’m watching the parade on TV. Here I am in the projects in a drug dealer’s apartment with guys I don’t even know, with drugs in the house, watching it. It’s a horrible feeling.”
Celebrating the biggest achievement of his life? Nah man, why do that when you can be buying some powder of a drug dealer. Gooden partied throughout the 1986 season but in 1987, tested positive for cocaine and entered rehab.
Cocaine also played a role in his post-retirement life including an incident in 2006 in which he arrived to a meeting with his probation officer on cocaine.
5 Scott Hall - Cost WWE Six Figures On Rehab
To say that Scott Hall had a rough time with life after retirement would be an understatement. On top of suffering from congestive heart failure in 2010, Hall has been arrested on several occasions. But the writing may have been on the wall for Hall who even during his wrestling career was heavily influenced by drugs and partying.
When talking about his drug days, Hall recalled a story with an interview:
"I literally have shared hotel rooms with Shawn Michaels… on more than one occasion we lay there and I go 'Hey Shawn, your heart still beating?'
[Shawn responds] 'Wait a minute… yeah'
Here, take half of this.'"
Hall's drug addiction was well-known to the WWE and in 2011 Stephanie McMahon admitted that the WWE had spent at least six figures on sending Hall through rehab. This was more than they had spent on any other wrestler.
4 Len Bias - Died two Days After Being Drafted
Our list is absolutely packed to the brim with Hall of Fame level athletes, but we're not going to be able to not mention Len Bias, who is arguably the most talented athlete to never play at the professional level and the reason for that is cocaine.
Bias was selected second overall in the 1986 draft by the Boston Celtics but passed away two days later after suffering from a seizure that was related to a cocaine overdose. Described by long-term Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as being the only other player that has ever stood out, outside of Michael Jordan, it is clear the league lost a potential legend at the age of 22.
Bias did not have a long-standing history with drug addiction, helping hammer home the point all the clearer that drugs are just not something to mess around with.
3 Eric Show - Died At Age 37
Eric Show had himself a respectable MLB career that saw him start close to 200 times. But if we're being honest, he's probably always going to be known as the pitcher who famously surrendered Pete Rose's 4,192nd career hit.
If that wasn't a positive enough memory to attach to Show, how about the fact that he loved shoveling snow..up his nose! Show battled drug abuse most prominently after undergoing back surgery in 1988.
In 1991, Show was also arrested and then kicked the windows out of the police car and ran away, later being caught and admitting to having used crystal meth that day. Sadly for Show, his life has a tragic ending as he passed away at the age of 37, overdosing after admitting to a care center that he had heavily abused alcohol, heroin, and cocaine.
2 Ken Caminiti - Died At Age 41
Ken Caminiti was one hell of a baseball player, but you can't write about him for very long without talking about his addiction to cocaine and for that he makes a great candidate to wrap up our list (not that being the top entry on a list of known drug users would be something to brag about).
His first arrest for it came in 2001, the same year he retired from baseball, but Caminiti admitted to struggling with substance abuse throughout his career which included alcohol and steroids.
Unable to put down the powder, Caminiti was arrested again for the drug in 2003. Ultimately he failed four drug tests while under probation for the substance, and sadly on October 10th, 2004, Caminiti took a fatal hit of cocaine and heroin.
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