Whatever your attitude is towards professional athletes, there is one thing that we can all agree on: It took a lot of training and years of hard work to get to be the top of their field and excel at their sport.
Of course, skill, talent, and practice aren't the only things that can lead a person to succeed. Especially in sports. There are so many athletes out there who are pushing themselves to be greater than the next. Gift and talent, however much you may have, might not be enough to get to where you want. With all this competition, the decision to turn to something other than will and pure gain is sometimes all too tempting.
Pursuing their career in high elite sports can lead not to just exhaustion, obsession, and downright frustration, but can also make them resort to extreme measures. For athletes who rely on their musculature and physical attributes like speed and strength, it is easy to feel pressured by the temptation of steroids.
For some, it can be the difference of milliseconds to win the race and barely noticeable, for others, it can mean bulging muscles, ripped and massive appendages, and inhuman-like bodies. These severe changes to someone’s body, especially when they appear in the public’s eye so often, are hard to keep secret.
Here is our list of the top biggest athletes, ten who actually never reportedly took steroids, and ten who admittedly and so obviously did.
20 Did: Sammy Sosa
The New York Times reported that Sosa was one of the 104 players who actually tested positive for those performance-enhancing drugs done by a 2003 survey test. He is one of the many baseball players who, like A-Rod, tried to use the defense of merely being caught up in a culture where it was the norm to use these drugs. He was also caught and accused of using a coked bat in 2003.
Sosa is number six on the MLB’s home run list with a record of 609. From all the athletic baseball players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, he is not alone. It is common in the sport to hear about the athletes using drugs.
19 Never: Clay Matthews
Although in the past years, Matthews had been accused, along with two other star players from the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers of using performance enhancing drugs, they were cleared back in 2016. They also denied various allegations of drug used throughout his team, the Packers.
There had been a news report that connected Matthews and the other two players back to a pharmacist who had admitted to allegedly giving them steroids. Matthews has been quoted saying that he would never touch a banned substance, let alone has never done drugs in his life. He goes on to say: “As you can see from my family, I think our history speaks for itself. We've got some talented people in my family in regards to football, and we do it the right way. I take that very serious, when people throw accusations my way, because I feel like I've done nothing but hard work. I've done everything I needed to do to put myself in this position. And if people want to try to bring me down, that's fine. But I'm going to keep being myself.”
18 Did: Barry Bonds
This American MLB player, actually considered to be, by some die-hard fans, as one of the best baseball players in history. He also admittedly agreed to using anabolic steroids given to him from his strength trainer, Greg Anderson. However, at the time when he used it, performance-enhancing drugs was not tested in the MLB mandatorily. His court case conviction was overturned in 2015, but he was originally convicted of an obstruction of justice charge, being accused of dishing out an evasive answer when he was questioned under oath.
This left-handed, 6-foot-2 left fielder grew in a decade from 185 pounds to 228, holding a BMI of 23.8 percent. This was when he hit a record-holding 73 home runs.
17 Never: Dwight Howard
Since he has never technically been caught using steroids, we will put him on this side of the list and just attribute his large muscle groups, heavy building strength, and enormously broad shoulders to good genes and hard work. He is, after all, 6-foot-11 and weighs 265 lbs.
This amazing athlete and world-renowned basketball player is always ranked up there in one of the best NBA players in history. Not only just because of his game, he also has high statistics when it comes to rebounds, blocks, and scoring percentage. He was also the starting center for the U.S. when the won gold in the 2008 Olympics. He also made history being the youngest player in the history of the NBA to reach 9000 career rebounds.
16 Did: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Admitted by himself, the former governor of California has used steroids in the past to become a seven-time champion as Mr. Olympia. This tri-skilled athlete, governor, actor and professional bodybuilder said that at the time they weren't aware of all the side effects and dangers of using the enhancement drug. But strangely enough, doesn't regret using them even knowing today what performance enhancing drugs can do to you and your body. Arnold knowingly and admittedly used Primobolan, Deca Durabolin, and Dianabol.
Arnold was responsible for bringing bodybuilding mainstream, winning various bodybuilding competitions not only in Europe but also in England, the U.S., France, South Africa, and Australia. He attributed his various professions as a bodybuilder, actor, movie, producer, activist, businessman, inventor, writer, and politician.
Schwarzenegger’s competition weight was 235 lbs, and is 6-foot-3.
15 Never: Usain Bolt
Known as the fastest person in the world, Bolt is an 11-times world champion and has won nine gold medals at the Olympics. He also set the record for being the first person to hold the records of two events: the 100m and the 200m dash.
Although there, of course, has been various degrees of speculation because of his success and insane athleticism, multiple “tests” have been used to show that it is almost impossible to believe that Bolt is a user. His success, however, makes it skeptical that he is drug-free, but tests like the duck test, testing his height, and his talent and speed when he was younger. He was actually the only one out of the five fastest men ever recorded that never tested positive for PEDs.
14 Did: Mike Piazza
Piazza, who holds the record for the all-time most home runs made by a baseball player who plays in the catcher position. His record was 396. Before it was banned, Piazza admitted that he used androstenedione, which is a steroid. It was actually the same exact type of steroid that McGwire was accused of using as well.
Piazza actually confirmed to a journalist in an off-the-record statement that he used performance enhancing drugs, along with two of his teammates. He also stated that he was going to admit and acknowledge his PED use in his book, called Long Shot.
Regardless, Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the New York Mets Hall of Fame. He now owns the A.C. Reggiana 1919 Italian soccer team.
13 Never: Bobby Lashley
Before getting to the WWE, Lashley had an impressive amateur career. This pro wrestling and MMA superstar was recently in the news opposing those fighters who had positive results for steroids or PEDs because he has had a flawless career of not being tested positive once for performance enhancing drugs.
Having a huge physique, one of the most impressive in the league, has never been tested positive for any banned substance. It has been speculated of his usage of Nutrabolics, and since he never competed in the UFC, it’s not exactly certain of how he would do against their raised standards. Ashley is a former ECW Champion in the WWE and weighs in at 245 lbs and stands tall at six feet, two inches.
12 Did: Ilya Ilyin
The weightlifter from Kazakhstan was stripped of his two Olympic gold medals that he won in both the 2008 and the 2012 Olympics. He is also facing a ban from the International Weightlifting Federation. Although he at first passed the doping tests, they were retested because the detection techniques from past years had improved. Then his samples came back positive for the banned substances stanozolol and turinabol.
Unfortunately, Ilyin was the only athlete to win two Olympic gold medals for Kazakhstan, yet this country’s prided athlete is now stripped of his glory and now stripped the country of its success through the competitive athlete. He can return to sport in seven months after his suspension is over.
Ilyin is 5-foot-9 and 230 lbs.
11 Never: Adrian Peterson
The American football running back, playing for the Arizona Cardinals has actually called it a compliment that he has been accused of using performance enhancing drugs. He also stated that he looks forward to drug testing because then he can always prove that he’s clean and his success, strength, and athletic body is all natural.
He says that he doesn't get mad at all and states that, if he hears someone asking or accusing him of being on HGH, that he takes it as a compliment because it means he’s doing “that good”. The NFL has been cracking down on their regulations and Peterson is up for the challenge.
Peterson is 6-foot-1 and 217 lbs.
10 Did: Ben Johnson
This Canadian, Jamaican-born sprinter was also a two-tie bronze medalist and gold medalist from the Olympics. Unfortunately, it was taken back. Johnson admitted that he used anabolic steroids, but not stanozolol, which he was accused of. He said it was impossible that he used it because the steroid made his body feel “tight”. However, he did admit to using, and preferring to use furazabol.
Johnson won in a 100 m. world record time at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium, but then a mere 24 hours later failed the drug test in his urine because they had found traces in his urine. This steroid usage and positive result was splattered across the world, which defamed and destroyed his career and reputation.
Johnson was 5-foot-10 and weighed 165 lbs.
9 Never: LeBron James
A professional basketball player who has won three NBA championships, along with a multitude of awards across the U.S., including Olympic gold medals and three NBA final MVP awards. Regarded as one of the most physical athletes in the sport, James stands at a whopping height of six feet and eight inches and a weight of 250 pounds. He is also a versatile basketball player, which only raises his credibility as a professional athlete who is one of the fittest and strongest in the game.
James has played guard, forward, and center. Although it has been speculated that James has used performance enhanced drugs during his athletic career, it has yet to been proven. Which shows that he is just an intense athlete.
8 Did: Brock Lesnar
Until recently, Brock Lesnar, a Canadian-American professional wrestler and former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings, has wrestled with the tests linking him to steroid usage and cutting him a break when his results came back positive. Nevertheless, back in 2016, Lesnar provided a negative anabolic steroid test result, but then was tested positive for a drug used in PCT, which is called Post Cycle therapy. The failed drug tests were taken back in June and July of 2016.
This year, however, Lesnar was temporarily suspended because he was tested positive for clomiphene and hydroxy-clomiphene. These drugs are used as an anti-estrogen agent. His large stature, huge muscles, and previous flirtation with PEDs claim to make the usage allegations highly possible.
7 Never: Giancarlo Stanton
This year was a great one for Marlins slugger Stanton. He is the sport’s leading slugger to hold the record for the most home runs that have been recorded sans steroids. This right fielder for the Miami Marlins has racked up his home runs and given the Miami Marlins something to be happy about in his 13-year, $325 million contract. Which is also another record in its own right, being the largest dollar valued contract in the history of not only baseball, but team sports put together.
Out of the six top single-season home-run totals from baseball’s top players, three have been accused of using PEDs. Therefore, it is debatable of Giancarlo’s place among the best, if these three players should be attributed in the list, or not.
6 Did: Edgar Davids
The midfielder who played for Juventus and Holland failed two drug tests. His positive results came back with traces of banned anabolic steroids. In 2001, the soccer player tested positive for nandrolone, however denied it. Though not spoken of in popular news because of their seemingly “small” stature when compared to other sports, the soccer league is no stranger to athletes and players being accused and charged with taking performance enhancing drugs.
Almost fifteen years ago, Davids was one of eight Serie A players in Italy to fail a drug test. The original sentence threatened a ban of 16 months, which would cause him to miss the 2002 World Cup, but after appealing, the sentence was reduced to a quarter of the original statement, to four months.
Edgar Davis weighed 150 lbs and is 5-foot-7.
5 Never: Michael Ray Garvin
Known as the “World’s Most Jacked Athlete”, Garvin states that he uses natural steroids, which are plant hormones. The wide receiver for the NFL played for the Arizona Cardinals, the Detroit Lions, the Las Vegas Locomotives, and the Texas Revolution. He holds the record for the fastest 40-yard dash made in the NFL with a run at 4.2 seconds.
He claims that he has never taken any type of illegal performance enhancing drug. He actually prides himself in being an advocate for natural health and has written two books to help share his knowledge of getting jacked and ripped, the natural way. The two books are: World’s Most Jacked Athlete and Jacked Athlete Supplement Manual. He was a health student as well and states that it only takes discipline and flexibility to get to where he is.
4 Did: Macho Man Randy Savage
This professional wrestler, named Randy Mario Poffo in real life, died of a sudden heart attack and totaled his car. His enlarged heart was attributed to his steroid use. He used a various amount of performance enhancing drugs. Macho Man was known for his signature call of “Oh, Yeah!”, his intensity, cowboy hats, a bandana, headband, sunglasses, and flashy outfits. He also had a long endorsement with Beef Jerky.
Unfortunately the professional wrestler died on May 11th, 2011 from heart disease. His enlarged heart was blocking his coronary arteries, which caused his death, which many people thought happened because of the crash. However, the crash was caused by his heart problems, where his Jeep jumped the median and hit a tree.
Savage was 6-foot-1 and 237 lbs.
3 Never: Margus Hunt
So far, this defensive end has not been charged with taking illicit, illegally-banned substance performance enhanced drugs. Although he has the physique to definitely be accused of it, he attributes his bulging muscles to hard work, getting him to be a promising project in the NFL.
This player is actually an Estonian-American, he actually was the former world junior record holder in discus throw. He also competed in shot put. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals prior to the Indianapolis Colts and is one of the tallest players in the NFL, at 6-foot-8. He is nicknamed the Estonian Giant. His athleticism has given me a lot of attention, because his career statistics, despite the hype on his size, hasn't been proven to be as successful.
2 Did: Carl Lewis
Found guilty, the American Olympic sprinter tested positive a total of three times in his career. One of them being in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, in the 100-meter final. Although he admitted it, he also said that he was one of “hundreds” athletes representing the U.S. who allegedly used and were allowed to escape bans.
He had defended himself to the USOC because he told them that he mistakenly thought they were herbal supplements. Instead of being banned, however, he received only a warning. However, Lewis got into trouble afterwards, in 2003, for suspected drunk-driving.
Lewis, although admittedly guilty for taking steroids, said that he wasn't concerned about any sort of revelations related to him because it was so long ago, regardless of his long history of 18 years of track.
Lewis is 6-foot-2 and 176 lbs.
1 Never: Jared Veldheer
This 325 pound offensive tackle for the Arizona Cardinals is huge. Although his size hadn't seemed to help him when the coaches decided to switch him from left to right tackle.
Recently, Veldheer was placed on Injured Reserve, which ends his 2017 season and unfortunately might even be the end to his career. He was suffering with an elbow injury, but then received an ankle injury which might have just been his last. His choice of retirement, however, would cost him $13 million dollars. His career, however short it may be, is relatively clean, having never been caught or having a test result come back as positive for a drug test.
Veldheer stands at 6-foot-8 and weights 322 lbs.