Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Kemp suspended for third drug violation



The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Magic center Shawn Kemp was suspended without pay by the NBA on Tuesday, the third time he has violated the terms of the league's anti-drug policy.

Kemp's suspension began with Tuesday night's game against the New Jersey Nets, and will continue until he has resumed full compliance with his treatment program.

Orlando coach Doc Rivers received word of the suspension from general manager John Gabriel when he was getting into to his car to drive to the arena for the game.

"We don't know whether the program was violated or he just missed a test. You just hope things work out for him," Rivers said. "The basketball side of it with him I could honestly care less. He's not a bad guy at all."

Kemp practiced Monday and participated in the Magic's Tuesday morning shootaround at the TD Waterhouse Centre. Gabriel spoke with him by telephone in the afternoon, but did not shed any light on why the 13th-year pro was suspended.

"I have no reaction because it's not clear what we would be reacting to," Gabriel said.

Asked how Kemp responded, Gabriel said: "He's just disappointed at the news. I can't elaborate."

A year ago, when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers, the 6-foot-10 Kemp was suspended for five games for violating the policy. He sat out from Feb. 22 through March 4 and lost $141,889 of his $12.77 million salary for each game he missed.

The 33-year-old Kemp, a six-time All-Star, also missed the final eight games of the 2000-2001 season, taking a leave of absence from Portland and entering a substance abuse program. Because he volunteered to enter a program, he was not suspended by the league at that time.

Certain substances, such as cocaine and LSD, call for dismissal from the league, although players may apply for reinstatement after two years.

The league, its teams and the players' association are prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any player in the program, other than to announce a player's suspension or dismissal from the league.

Kemp has started 42 of 50 games he's played this season, averaging 7.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in 23.1 minutes.




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