BEIJING – Former NBA player Marcus Williams has been banned from playing in China for six months after testing positive for marijuana, in what is said to be the Chinese professional basketball league’s first drugs case.
The former San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers player, who is now with Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons, was banned by the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) on Monday after testing positive on December 9, state-run media said.
Xinhua news agency said it was the first drugs case in the CBA league’s 17-year history.
“To all the CBA fans, Shanxi fans, sponsors, as well as my coaches and players, I sincerely apologise. I have let a lot of people down and I regret it,” Williams, 26, said on his microblog on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Williams moved to China to join Zhejiang Golden Bulls in 2010. He transferred to Shanxi in 2011.
The punishment means he will have to sit out the rest of the season, which runs from November to February, but his team is free to replace him with another foreign player.