Saturday, May 25, 2024

Basketball | NBA player Jontay Porter (24) banned for life for role in gambling scandal


Although the NBA is not completely shaken at the start of the play-offs, Jontay Porter is simply too small a fish for that. But the fact that a player is banned for life is remarkable to say the least. Because while the NBA regularly suspends players for a longer period of time for misconduct on and around the field, a punishment for gambling has only been imposed twice in the last thirty years. OJ Mayo was banned for two years in 2016, while Roy Tarpley of the Dallas Mavericks was the last to receive a lifetime ban, in 1995.


The NBA announced in a statement late Wednesday evening that Porter had been banned after an extensive investigation. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver affirmed that “there is nothing more important to the NBA than protecting the integrity of the NBA. We do this for our fans, our teams and everyone else connected to the sport. That is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of the rules of our sport have been met with the strongest possible punishment.”

The NBA is obviously committed to keeping the game clean. The basketball league has a large number of important sponsors, and the NBA does business with about twenty gambling companies.


Jontay Porter (left) in action for the Toronto Raptors earlier this season.

Photo: SID

Porter, a 24-year-old power forward, has been under scrutiny since the end of March, after betting shops reported that strange things had happened around a Toronto Raptors game on March 20. Porter appeared to have passed on information about his physical condition to a well-known gambler before the game against the Sacramento Kings. These, and other bettors, were betting big money on a specific statistic, namely that Porter would perform less well than usual in the March 20 game. Porter played only three minutes in that game before reporting to his coach that he was not feeling well.

A similar ‘modus operandi’ was found during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 26. Porter only played four minutes, and then reported that he was suffering too much from an eye injury he had sustained a week earlier. Even then, betting shops were betting on a lesser performance by Porter and the Raptors.

$21,695 profit

NBA investigators found more information about Porter’s behavior in recent weeks. He had bet on NBA games at least 13 times in recent years, which is strictly prohibited for players, even if they are injured or playing in the G-league development league. The amounts Porter wagered ranged from $15 to $22,000. The bets earned Porter a net profit of $21,695, about 20,000 euros. By the way, none of the bets related to a match in which Porter took part. He did, however, once gamble on a Raptors defeat. Figures from before his time in the NBA are also emerging, Porter is said to have been betting on sports matches for some time.

Not a high flyer

Jontay Porter, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter, signed his first NBA contract in March 2020, with the Memphis Grizzlies. That was not a great success. He then played in the NBA Summer League and with the training teams Wisconsin Herd and Motor City Cruise. This season he was able to return to the NBA, with the Raptors. Porter played 26 games, and averaged 4.4 points per game.

In a response, the Toronto Raptors said they “fully support the NBA’s decision.” The club will support the continuation of the investigation. There’s a good chance Porter will also be prosecuted by authorities.


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