BEIJING, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Former NBA player Marcus Williams has been tested positive for marijuana to record the first doping case in China's professional basketball league, the national basketball governing body announced on Monday.
Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) said in a statement that the point guard, playing for Shanxi, was banned for six months and the club was fined 10,000 yuan (about 1,500 U.S. dollars) following his positive test on Dec. 9.
"We should learn from this lesson, to conduct more tests, to improve our regulations. We won't tolerate doping," it said in the statement.
China Anti-doping Agency agreed that more tests needed in the basketball professional league.
"The truth is there were not many tests done in the basketball league," said Zhao Jian, vice director of CHINADA, adding that a total of 12 tests were conducted by far this season.
Williams, 26, will have to sit out rest of the season that kicked off on Nov. 24 and runs through to Feb. 17 next year.
Shanxi club Saturday had claimed that Williams ruptured the ligament in his right leg and would rest for up to six weeks.
Williams appologized for his behavior right after CBA's announcement.
"To all the CBA fans, Shanxi fans, sponsors, as well as my coaches and players I sincerely apologize. I have let a lot of people down and I regret it more then anything. I understand everyone's disappointment and I will do everything to improve and grow from this," said Williams who has been in China since 2010 after playing for the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.
He transferred to Shanxi in 2011 from Zhejiang and averaged 32.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season.
Cannabinoids or metabolites of marijuana is one of the most abused drugs according to the World Anti-Doping Agency statistics in 2011. There were 445 positive cases for this substance reported by WADA's accreditated labs last year, third behind anabolic agents and stimulants.
American swimming hero Michael Phelps was banned for three months after he admitted smoking marijuana in a party in 2008, after he won an unprecedented eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympics.
The most recently notable marijuana case came from American judoka Nick Delpopolo who was expelled from the London Olympics.