30 Famous Athletes Who Have Battled Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Michael Phelps
In 2009, he lost his endorsement contract with Kellogg’s after a photo emerged of him taking a hit of marijuana.

1. Michael Phelps

Eight-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps has not only plunged into the water, but into drugs. In 2009, he lost his endorsement contract with Kellogg’s after a photo emerged of him taking a hit of marijuana.

2. Dock Ellis

Known for keeping the San Diego Padres hitless one 1970 afternoon, pitcher Dock Ellis later admitted to having taken LSD earlier that day. He even thought he was pitching to Jimi Hendrix, who was prepared to hit the ball with his guitar.

3. Darryl Strawberry

MLB’s four-time World Series champion Darryl Strawberry has tainted his resume with cocaine and alcohol use.

4. Derek Boogaard

NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard became addicted to prescription pain medication. A mix of oxycodone and alcohol led to his May 2011 death.

5. Diego Maradona

Midfielder soccer star Diego Maradona struggled with a twenty-year cocaine addiction, leading to three suspensions and multiple failed drug tests during his career.

6. Andre Agassi

Tennis star Andre Agassi, who failed an amphetamine drug test in 1997 and claimed his drug usage was the result of drinking a spiked soda, later revealed he had done crystal meth frequently during his career.

7. Josh Hamilton

MLB player Josh Hamilton’s career was delayed and derailed for eight years as he struggled with drugs and alcohol. He began to cope in 2008, and postseason victories are now celebrated with ginger ale rather than champagne.

8. Ricky Williams

The NFL’s Ricky Williams, infamous for his marijuana infatuation, has been busted four times in the past decade for violating substance abuse policy and has a stoner reputation.

9. Dwight Gooden

Looping curveball and powerful fastball pitcher Dwight Gooden was well known for his baseball career in the late 80s, but soon tested positive for cocaine use. He entered rehab in 1987 but later relapsed and was suspended from playing in the 1995 season.

10. Len Bias

Len Bias, a promising University of Maryland All-American basketball player who had just been drafted by the Boston Celtics, two days later died of a cocaine overdose.

11. Marcus Camby

Toronto Raptor Marcus Camby was drafted to the basketball team in 1996 and just one year later was arrested for marijuana possession.

12. Jennifer Capriati

Child tennis prodigy Jennifer Capriati made the mistake of shoplifting and smoking weed as a teenager and was arrested for marijuana possession. She has since made a comeback.

13. Allen Iverson

In 1997, Allen Iverson received a charge for marijuana possession and then turned to community service as a way out of drug abuse or addiction.

14. Thurman Thomas

Buffalo Bills player Thurman Thomas was arrested in 2004 at a hotel because guests smelled his marijuana.

15. Rob Van Dam

Rob Van Dam was suspected from the WWE for thirty days for marijuana and Vicodin possession.

16. Rasheed Wallace

Basketball player Rasheed Wallace was arrested at a traffic stop in 2002 for marijuana possession.

17. Nate Newton

Nate Newton made six Pro Bowls in NFL before being busted for marijuana, earning him two and a half years in a federal prison.

18. Jon Daly

Pro-golfer Jon Daly was a heavy drinker off the course. Despite that he had previously won two majors, he went six years without a professional victory as a result of his alcohol abuse.

19. Pelle Lindebergh

Olympic goalie Pelle Lindebergh died by driving his car into a wall while drunk.

20. Vin Baker

Basketball player Vin Baker was found to smell of alcohol at practice, which eventually led to his suspension.

21. Roy Tarpley

In 1995, the NBA permanently banned Roy Tarpley for his alcohol use. He had previously been expelled from the league for cocaine use.

22. Steve Howe

In 1992, MLB player Steve Howe became the league’s first player to be banned for life due to drug use.

23. Todd Marinovich

Football player Todd Marinovich, struggled with a cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and LSD, and eventually was thrown onto ESPN’s “25 Biggest Sports Flops” list.

24. Tim Lincecum

San Francisco Giants member Tim Lincecum was stopped in 2009 for a routine traffic violation and admitted to marijuana possession.

25. Michael Irvin

Michael Irvin, who placed ninety-second on the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of All-Time” list, was once busted for cocaine and marijuana possession.

26. Lawrence Taylor

One of the most feared players in NFL history, Lawrence Taylor admits to having struggled with drugs early on in his rookie season—”coke was the only bright spot in my future,” he has said.

27. Leonard Little

Football player Leonard Little once spent three months in jail and served 1,000 hours of community service for running a stoplight and killing a woman in a car crash while intoxicated.

28. Bob Probert

Hockey’s Bob Probert has been fighting substance abuse since 1989. He was banned by the NHL for some time and was caught smuggling cocaine between Canada and the United States.

29. Theo Fleury

Although the smallest player on the ice, Theo Fleury was big on goals and big on drugs and alcohol. His last NHL stop was with the Chicago Blackhawks, who released him in 2003.

30. Don Rogers

Cleveland Browns safety Don Rogers died of cocaine poisoning less than a week before his wedding.

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