Hawks big man John Collins missed 25 games of this season after being suspended for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. He made his return to the lineup for Monday night's game against the Cavs, and he wants to make it clear that he was not looking to gain a competitive advantage.
According to several reports, Collins tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (GHRP-2). The NBA takes its anti-doping policy seriously, but he says he had no ill intent:
“I can say this a million times, but I would never ever jeopardize — I’ve seen some of those comments,” Collins said, via The Athletic. “They hurt me a little bit. ‘This guy is a cheater.’ I feel like if you know me and know my character and my person, it’s not what I would do. It’s not what I would ever do. For me, I just want to let them know that I’m not a cheater. This is something that will never happen again, if I can control it. I will be more aware of everything going on with my situation to be more secure about my career.
“With something like this, you’re obviously going to have people who support and people who show their true colors. I’m just happy to have a group of Hawks fans who have truly stuck with me through these hard times and let me know that they have my back. Obviously, you can’t make everyone happy, but you cater to the crowd who has supported me 100 percent.”
Though the Hawks were defeated, 121-118, Collins put together a nice game in his return to the lineup. He logged 35 minutes, scoring 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field (2-of-5 from beyond the arc), 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Atlanta (6-25 overall) has now lost eight consecutive games. The Hawks will look to get back into the win column on Friday night, when they serve as hosts to the Milwaukee Bucks.