As “Black Magic,” Lewis Lloyd conjured many sleight of hands tricks on the basketball court that were astonishing to the naked eye.
Now the former Overbrook High School, Drake University and NBA standout is reaching into his bag of mystical tricks to help fallen hoops legend Tyreke Evans.
On May 17, the NBA banned Evans, a former Parade magazine and McDonald’s All-America player from American Christian Academy in Aston, for two years for violating the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program regarding a drug of abuse. He is eligible to apply for reinstatement in 2021.
The league is not permitted to discuss details of a player’s failed drug test other than to announce a suspension or dismissal. However, the ban applies to a drug of abuse, rather than a performance-enhancing drug. If Evans had been suspended for a steroid or performance-enhancing drug (SPED), the league would have identified the drug, per the anti-drug policy in the collective bargaining agreement which says: “If a player is suspended or disqualified for conduct involving a SPED, the particular SPED shall be publicly disclosed along with the announcement of the applicable penalty.”
According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the consequence of testing positive for a “drug of abuse” is dismissal. “In the event that the player tests positive for a drug of abuse ... he shall immediately be dismissed and disqualified from any association with the NBA or any of its teams.”
Drugs of abuse included in the CBA are listed as amphetamine and its analogs (including, but not limited to, methamphetamine and MDMA); cocaine; LSD; opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine); and phencyclidine (PCP).
It should be noted that the CBA lists “marijuana and its byproducts” under “prohibited substances,” but not as a “drug of abuse.”
For the 29-year-old Evans, the dismissal comes at the wrong time. He’d just completed his 10th season in the NBA. A pending free agent, Evans spent the past season with the Indiana Pacers, his fourth team since being selected as the No. 4 pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2009 NBA draft. He was the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Evans, who has also played for the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, averaged 10.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Pacers, splitting time between starting and coming off the bench. For his career, Evans averaged 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
According to the NBA’s guidelines, a player can be dismissed and disqualified from the league for testing positive for a drug of abuse or if he is convicted of or pleads guilty to the use, possession or distribution of a drug of abuse.
Lloyd is among several players who have been banned under the policy.
“I know what he’s going through,” said Lloyd, who averaged 13 points per game during his NBA career. “I just want him to know that I’m there to help him in any way that I can. He’s not alone.”
Lloyd, a fourth-round draft pick of the Golden State Warriors in 1981, played seven season in the NBA. After two years with the Warriors, he signed with the Houston Rockets where he became a star. In 1986, he and teammate Mitchell Wiggins, whose son Andrew was the first overall choice of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 NBA Draft, were banned for 2½ years after testing positive for cocaine.
A player can be reinstated only with the approval of both the NBA and the players’ association. Lloyd and Wiggins were reinstated in September 1989. Ironically, both ended their NBA careers with the Philadelphia 76ers.
“You have to remain clean,” said Lloyd, who has been associated with rehab programs run by former Sixers general manager and head coach John Lucas and Jayson Williams, a former Sixer who served five years in prison after he accidentally shot and killed a limousine driver in 2002. “You have to take it one day at a time. I know they hear it all the time, but it’s the truth. You have to take it day by day. It’s not easy but there is help.
“I want to extend myself to [Evans]. I know there are a lot of things going on in his life. I know. I’ve been where he’s at. Perhaps there is something I can say or do that may help him get through this rough period.”
Now a licensed vendor who operates a very vibrant goods stand on 52nd Street near Lancaster Avenue, Lloyd wants to see a fellow former Pennsylvania prep star and NBA standout succeed.
“I’m here for him,” said Lloyd, who is regarded as one of Philadelphia’s all-time basketball legends. “He’s got a tough road ahead of him, but he can make it. I want to see him succeed. He can do it.”