Star Athletes Who Loved the Nose Candy

You would think being a sports superstar would be an easy life, and for most athletes it is. There’s the money, the fame, and the women, the three-headed hydra of delight that is promised to any star athlete.

However, we all know where there’s money there is that temptation to blow it all away, and what better expensive and self-destructive temptress than drugs. More than one athlete has pissed away a promising career due to the nose candy, and those who didn’t very well could have. AMOG looks at a few of our favorite coke-addicted athletes.

Doc Gooden


Dwight Eugene Gooden took major league baseball by storm. As a rookie for the New York Mets in 1984, at the lowly age of 19, Gooden had the stuff that made opposing batters cry. Armed with a blistering 98 MPH fastball and a ridiculous curveball, he lead the league in strike outs, became the youngest all-star in baseball history, and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

He followed up his rookie campaign with an unbelievable season, one of the best in baseball history. He finished the year with 24 wins, 268 strikeouts, and a 1.53 ERA. He became the youngest player ever to win the Cy Young Award, awarded to the top pitcher in each league, and a few even believed he wouldn’t stop until he retired and reached the Hall of Fame. He became a superstar in the Big Apple; visitors leaving Penn Station in Manhattan were greeted with a huge photograph of the Doc, and his enormous portrait donned a building in midtown.

While he continued to have several more productive seasons, he would never again reach such heights. This is because cocaine is one hell of a drug. In 1986, he was arrested in Tampa after fighting with police, and rumors arouse of his substance abuse. Those rumors were substantiated after he failed a drug test during spring training of ’87, and missed the first third of the season in rehab.

By 1992, his decline was so precipitous that Sports Illustrated ran an article entitled, “From Phenom to Phantom” about the former budding superstar. Things got worse: in 1994 he was suspended for 60 games for failing a drug test, tested positive AGAIN while under suspension, and was banned for the entire ’95 season. Things were so bad that after the season long ban, his wife discovered Gooden hiding in their bedroom with a gun to his head once he got word of the suspension.

Gooden puttered around for a few more years after the suspension, retiring in 2001 with a 194-112 record, more than half of the victories coming before he was 25. His problems continued after his retirement. His legal issues include a DUI arrest in 2002, driving under a suspended license in 2003, for battery against his girlfriend in 2005, and was sent to prison in 2006 for violating his probation. He met his probation officer high on cocaine, and actually chose prison because he felt like there would be no drug temptations for him in jail.

Lawrence Taylor


While he didn’t ruin his playing career per se, chronic drug use almost ruined star linebacker Lawrence Taylor’s life. During his 12-year career, LT was considered a top defensive player. He was selected to 10 Pro Bowls, was a 9 time First-Team All-Pro, won two Super Bowls, selected as the 1986 MVP, had his number retired by the Giants, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. There is no shortage of accolades and awards for his on the field play.

He is considered one of the best defensive players of all time. Legendary coach and color commenting and rambling John Madden one said, “Lawrence Taylor, defensively, has had as big an impact as any player I’ve ever seen. He changed the way defense is played, the way pass-rushing is played, the way linebackers play and the way offenses block linebackers.” He changed the way outside linebackers played the position.

Drugs and booze seriously affected his personal life. In 1987 he tested positive for cocaine, was suspended in 1988 following a second positive test, and gave up drugs for five years until his retirement only because a third suspension would have ended his career.

After his retirement, he associated with only drug dealers, considered his own home as a crack house, and spent thousands of dollars a day on drugs. Police arrested him twice in a three-year span for attempting to buy coke from undercover police in the mid ‘90s, and bounced in and out of rehab twice. He claimed he started using drugs in his second year in the league.

Taylor, however, got smart, and cleaned up his life. He has been clean since 1998, and credits golf of all things in helping his recovery.

Diego Armando Maradona


Shit, who knows anything about soccer? Well, if you want to impress that hot Argentine girl you met at Tango class, bring up Diego Maradona. He is widely considered, along with Pele, as one of the best soccer players of all time. He played in four World Cups, winning one against West Germany in 1986. He is most infamously known for an unpenalized handball against England in the same 1986 World Cup in a semifinal match against England, known as “The Hand of God.”


In Argentina, the man is a god. Some rabid fans started the Iglesia Maradoniana, or Madadonian Church, to honor their soccer great. He is currently the head coach of the Argentine national team.

He is also well known for doing a shitload of cocaine. An addict between the mid 1980s and 2004, he almost killed himself from doing too much coke. During this period, he was suspended from international soccer in 1991 after failing a drug test, and dismissed from the 1994 World Cup for testing positive for Ephedrine.

After his retirement, he gained a lot of weight, and in 2000, he was hospitalized for heart muscle damage due to a lifetime of drug abuse. In 2004 he suffered a major heart attack due to drug use and almost died, and was hospitalized for a week. In 2007, he was hospitalized again, this time for hepatitis and other alcohol related side effects. He has since quit drinking and claims he hasn’t done drugs since 2004.

Darryl Strawberry


Darryl Strawberry, incidentally another New York Mets great, was a budding star who ruined his life with drugs. Coming up to the big leagues in 1983, Strawberry had an outstanding rookie season. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award for posting 26 home runs, 74 runs batted in, and hitting for a .257 average. Between 1984 and 1990, during his prime, he went to the All-Star game every year, and won a World Series in 1986.

Like Gooden, he was a New York media darling. His likeness appeared on action figures, posters, and other media. However, he was known as a horrible pain in the ass who over slept for workouts, argued with teammates, and was reviled by opponents. However, temptation to drugs took over in the latter part of his career. In 1995, he was suspended for testing positive for cocaine, and in 1999 was arrested for picking up an undercover cop posing as a prostitute and having cocaine.

Things didn’t get better for Darryl in the 2000s, bouncing in and out of rehab and prison for violating probation, on top of battling cancer.

As stated before (and made famous by Rick James), cocaine is indeed one hell of a drug.

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  1. Daaarryll… daaarryllll… You just made me want to go watch the Simpsons episode where they wrote him as a coach's pet ultimate team player hahah.

  2. mr comment says:

    what about michael irving, and that dude that played for the knicks in the 70's- 80's.