Report: DEA investigated LeBron James for PEDs as part of 2013 federal Biogenesis probe

Peter Dewey
10 Min Read

The Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly investigated Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James as part of its 2013 Biogenesis probe.

James was cleared of having any activity involving performance-enhancing drugs during the investigation.

The Biogenesis investigation, which led to the conviction of Tony Bosch, a self-described biochemist, and seven associates, caused a massive ripple in Major League Baseball.

Stars such as Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz and Ryan Braun were involved in the performance-enhancing drugs scandal. In total, 21 players were suspended because of the investigation.

The Biogenesis scandal occurred several years ago, but new information was recently obtained by ESPN.

“But what has not been publicly known until now — found in more than 1,400 pages of unredacted federal investigative documents obtained by ESPN — are the names of other athletes and figures, from world champion boxers and wrestlers to fitness gurus, entertainers and even law enforcement officials, who surfaced during the investigation of the largest doping operation in U.S. sports history,” ESPN’s Mike Fish wrote.

“Among them are former WWE star Paul ‘The Big Show’ Wight; former boxing champion Shannon Briggs; one of the most well-known trainers of prominent athletes in David Alexander; and Ernest ‘Randy’ Mims, a longtime friend and business manager of LeBron James.”

While there were connections to James, in the Biogenesis scandal between Alexander and Mims, neither was found to be distributing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes.

“While reporting this story, ESPN was told by federal authorities that they found nothing to suggest that Alexander — who has trained James — or Mims provided any PEDs to any athletes,” Fish wrote. “But because both had a relationship with James, their involvement in the investigation caused investigators to look at whether James might have been involved in any activity related to PEDs — and they concluded that he was not: ‘There was never any indication that LeBron James did anything wrong,’ the lead DEA investigator said.

“How Mims and Alexander inadvertently brought their friend’s name into federal documents is a tale almost as wild as the entire South Florida investigative saga.

“At the height of the federal investigation in May 2013, a DEA surveillance detail captured the duo meeting with a known target of the investigation, Carlos Acevedo. Acevedo, who later became a confidential informant for federal agents in the drug distribution case, was a former Bosch business partner later convicted for his role. According to the documents, by the time Alexander and Mims were seen meeting with Acevedo, he was running his own performance-enhancing drug operation and no longer had any connection to Bosch, the Biogenesis mastermind.”

James, who was playing for the Miami Heat at the time, is close with Mims. He is a member of James’ inner circle and has held several business roles for James, including positions for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers.

According to the investigation, Mims purchased drugs from Acevedo for personal use, and he was never charged with any crime or interviewed by authorities.

“Mims’ purchases of testosterone — a Schedule III controlled substance — and metabolism-boosting injections and a blood draw by an unlicensed phlebotomist provided by Acevedo are described in federal documents as being done for his personal use,” Fish wrote. “Acevedo told authorities Mims paid him $300 a purchase and remained a client for about two months before he stopped making buys after complaining about how the drugs made him feel.”

It was confirmed by DEA agent Kevin Stanfill that the activity that linked Mims was solely for his own personal use because of his weight.

“[He’s] apparently an overweight guy,” Stanfill confirmed to ESPN. “And he went to him [Acevedo] about possibly getting some testosterone treatment stuff that they were giving a bunch of overweight guys in Miami, and they dropped a lot of weight.”

Mims was apparently referred to Acevedo through Alexander. According to the documents, there were nearly a dozen referrals from the trainer to Acevedo.

“As for Alexander, Acevedo told authorities the trainer initially paid him for drugs, but the duo later worked out a deal whereby Alexander would receive substances for free in return for referring new clients to Acevedo,” Fish wrote. “Among the referrals, Acevedo said, was Mims.”

As for Alexander’s connection to James, it had been known that he had worked with Alexander during his time for the Heat and Cavs. However, documents identified Alexander as James’ wife’s personal trainer. There were also documents that showed that James’ wife and Alexander co-owned a cold-pressed juice and smoothie business at the time.

The DEA looked into the connection to see if it related back to James, which it found it did not.

“I can tell you that we looked into everything just because we knew this day would come,” Stanfill said. “… She wasn’t getting any supplements, anything like that. … There was never any indication that LeBron James did anything wrong.”

James was also unaware that he — or his wife — was a part of the Biogenesis probe until last November.

“Until approached by ESPN last November, a James representative said he had no knowledge that his name, his wife or his associates had ever been referenced in the Biogenesis investigation,” Fish wrote.

James’ media adviser Adam Mendelsohn was provided with portions of the federal documents that related to James and Mims, but the Lakers star was not made available for an interview. Instead, a spokesperson issued a statement to ESPN after requests to speak to Mims were denied.

“In 2013, Randy Mims worked briefly with David Alexander for personal training and nutrition and was given a supplement on Alexander’s recommendation,” the statement read. “Mr. Mims worked only with Mr. Alexander and used the supplement a total of three times. Additionally, Mr. Mims has never been contacted by any authorities and had no knowledge of any of the information contained in this report, which occurred over a decade ago.”

ESPN did not receive a statement from James or his wife.

For fans of James and the teams he’s played for, it’s a sigh of relief to see that he was cleared of any wrongdoing during the Biogenesis investigation. Still, it’s crazy that some of James’ connections ended up pulling him into the probe.

A four-time NBA champion, James is arguably the greatest player in NBA history. He’s played for the Heat, Cavs and Lakers in his career, leading each franchise to at least one NBA title.

During the 2022-23 season, James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, passing Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A 19-time All-Star and 19-time All-NBA selection, James made the NBA Finals in eight consecutive seasons after joining the Heat prior to the 2010-11 campaign.

In Miami, he teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to win two titles. After four years as a part of Miami’s Big 3, James returned to Cleveland in free agency prior to the 2014-15 season.

He led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in each of the next four seasons, winning the 2016 NBA Finals. In that series, James helped the Cavs overcome a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors – who set an NBA record with a 73-9 record in the regular season.

James has also won a title with the Lakers, leading the team to a championship in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble in the 2019-20 season. Last season, he nearly brought the Lakers back to the Finals, but the team came up short, losing to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

A truly special athlete, James is preparing for the 2023-24 season with the Lakers, which will be his 21st in the NBA.

It’s amazing that he’s been able to not only play in the league for this long, but also perform at such a high level. The Lakers are hoping that James has one more title run left in him for the 2023-24 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.