Iceberg tip emphatically shaved off

I see that American pro basketball has permanently banned a player, Jontay Porter, for gambling on, and giving out nonpublic information to gamblers about, NBA games. In two instances, he was found to have tipped off a buddy that he was going to leave that night's game early because he claimed he was injured or ill. The buddy, or a tippee further down the line, bet that Porter would score fewer than his forecast point totals.

The NBA launched an investigation into Porter in late March, after sportsbooks noticed irregular betting on the over/under on the reserve center's statistics in two Raptors games. In both games, Porter exited after playing only a few minutes.

The NBA's investigation found that Porter revealed information about his own health to a known sports bettor ahead of a March 20 game against the Sacramento Kings. Another bettor privy to the information placed an $80,000 same-game parlay bet that featured unders on Porter's statistics and would win $1.1 million, according to the NBA. Porter played three minutes before leaving the game with an illness. The bet, which was placed at DraftKings, was not paid.

The league commissioner is stomping around bleating about how they're vindicating the "integritry of the game," but come on. The teams are in it up to their eyeballs with gambling, making all kinds of money on it. People are betting on seemingly every single play, with the league's blessing. You can use your phone to wager on any given player's points, three-point baskets, rebounds, assists, steals, and turnovers, and for a particular quarter as well as for the whole game. Players and referees no longer have to throw the outcome of a game to make a lot of money for a friend. They just have to keep one individual statistic below the predicted total.

It gets worse with football, where you can bet on how many times they'll throw the ball, or hand it off, to a particular guy that day. It doesn't even matter what he does with it. Those pass attempts or runs are controlled entirely by a mostly obscure assistant coach wearing a headset in a booth high up in the stands. You can't tell me he doesn't know ahead of the game who the day's planned targets of choice are going to be. Do you think he ever talks about that within earshot of a low-level functionary, like an equipment manager? Do you think those low-level guys ever send signals to their pals?

The NBA can make an example out of Porter, but the genie's out of the bottle. Well-placed people are getting tips left and right. If the gamblers are dumb about it, as they apparently were in Porter's case, somebody will get in a lot of trouble. But most of them are going to be smarter than that. Remember that as you plunk down your $10 bet, or your $100 for a ticket to the game.


  1. I liked the NBA, back in the day when they played basketball. When it became a collection of highlight reels I pretty much stopped watching.
    The gambling thing doesn’t surprise me

    1. I find that people that feel that way about the men's game enjoy women's college and pro basketball. Check it out, if you haven't yet.

    2. Have. I’m a fan

  2. When gambling companies like Draft Kings are running ads during games, the cows and horses, and sheep and goats, are miles out of the barn. And what's wrong with Silver? Every year he looks even more anorexic.

  3. The NBA is not so much a basketball league as it is a marketing campaign.

    Likely true of all pro sports but NBA is perhaps the most overt about it.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.