The National Basketball Association has suspended Los Angeles Lakers reserve center Soumaila Samake of Mali for five games for violating the league's steroid drug policy.
Samake is one of seven African players on NBA team rosters at the beginning of the 2002-2003 season. The 24-year-old player admitted taking a supplement that contained a banned substance. He will not be paid during the suspension, which began with the Lakers game November 12th against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks beat the Lakers, 95-83. It was the fourth straight loss for the three-time defending champion Lakers, who have struggled at the start of the NBA season without all-star center Shaquille O'Neal. Big Shaq has been recovering from offseason toe surgery.