O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA earlier this offseason for violating the National Basketball Players Association's anti-drug policy but believes he will return to the league in the future, as he told TMZ Sports.
Mayo, 28, was banned for at least two years and while TMZ quotes him as saying the appeals process is “in the works,” it sounds like he said, “it didn’t work.” As James Herbert of CBS Sports relays, it’s a huge difference if Mayo’s words were misquoted.
’That's an important distinction—if it didn't work, then ‘soon’ might actually just mean ‘two years,’ which is when he can apply to be reinstated,” Herbert wrote.
Mayo also mentioned that he just underwent foot surgery, which makes sense since a fractured ankle ended his season with the Milwaukee Bucks in March. A former first-round pick (third overall) by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2008 NBA Draft, Mayo has been a solid scorer during his eight-year career in the NBA. He’s averaged 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 30.9 minutes per game over his career.
However, he has also run into his share of troubles. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reported that Mayo received a 10-game suspension in 2011 for performance-enhancing drugs. But CBS Sports’ Ken Berger noted that Mayo’s suspension was for a “drug of abuse” and not PEDs.
If he does sit out the next two seasons, Mayo’s career is still likely not over. He will be just over 30 years old once the suspension if lifted in two seasons and has a track record of success on the court. If he can stay healthy and out of trouble, Mayo will look to spread his game to teams around the league “soon.”