The NBA suspended New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada 25 games without pay for violating the NBA / NBPA anti-drug program.
Louzada tested positive for drostanolone and testosterone.
In a statement to ESPN, 22-year-old Louzada said she unknowingly ingested the banned substances during a trip back to her Brazilian home in the off-season and a consultation with a recommended nutritionist.
“When I was in Brazil during the off-season, I consulted a nutritionist who recommended that I take some vitamins and supplements,” Louzada said in the statement. “Because he has a history of working with professional athletes, I would never have imagined that any of those substances would be banned or could be contaminated. Once I found out about the positive test, I immediately cooperated fully with the league and union to help us. to understand what exactly happened.
“I would never knowingly take something that violates NBA rules. I accept my responsibility in this situation. I am deeply sorry that this happened and I apologize to my team, my teammates and the Pelicans fans for this mistake.”
The Pelicans selected Louzada with the 35th pick in 2019, the same draft in which they selected Zion Williamson. Louzada was part of the deal that sent the No. 4 pick to Atlanta in which New Orleans also acquired Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
“On behalf of the New Orleans Pelicans organization, we were disappointed to learn that Didi Louzada violated the NBA / NBPA Anti-Drug Program,” said David Griffin, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans, in a statement. “After speaking with Didi, we are confident that he understands the 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 of last season for the final games of the 2020-21 campaign. This offseason, Louzada re-signed with New Orleans on a multi-year deal.
Louzada has played in five career games in the NBA 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.