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NBA Levies Lifetime Ban to Player in Massive Gambling Scandal

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Two-way Toronto Raptors power forward Jontay Porter, younger brother to title-winning Denver Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr., has been banned from the NBA for life. The league made the announcement in a press statement, released via its official PR team’s X account:

Following an NBA investigation, it was discovered that Porter advised a gambler to place an $80,000 parlay bet against Portery’s on-court play in a 123-89 March 20 loss to the Sacramento Kings (taking several unders) online, and earned $1.1 million on the bet.

Porter faked an illness to make sure he hit the requisite unders and thus would help the bettor hit those numbers. The bet was frozen and ultimately not paid out, when the online sports book earmarked the big-ticket bet as suspicious.

Jontay Porter #11 and Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors push on Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of a game at Crypto.com Arena on January 09, 2024…


Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The league found that Porter placed bets on 13 league games through “an associate’s online betting account,” the league statement revealed, totaling $54,094 and earning a payout of $76,059 (i.e. a profit of $21,965), though none of those bets covered games in which Porter partook.

“There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport, which is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of our gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment,” commissioner Adam Silver said in the NBA’s statement.

“While legal sports betting creates transparency that helps identify suspicious or abnormal activity, this matter also raises important issues about the sufficiency of the regulatory framework currently in place, including the types of bets offered on our games and players,” Silver continued. “Working closesly with all relevant stakeholders across the industry, we will continue to work diligently to safeguard our league and game.”

A 6-foot-11 big man out of the University of Missouri, Porter will finish his NBA career having appeared in just 37 NBA games across parts of two seasons. He logged 11 games with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2020-21, averaging two points and 1.3 rebounds in just 4.9 minutes per. This past season with Toronto, he averaged 4.4 points on .385/.333/.833 shooting splits, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks a night in 26 games, including five starts.

Porter, still just 24, had a greater impact at the NBA G League level. Across 26 regular season appearances with the Memphis Hustle in 2020-21, the Wisconsin Herd in 2022-23, and the Raptors 905 this year, he posted averages of 10.1 points on 35% shooting from the field, 9.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.2 blocks and 0.9 steals a night.

He can still continue his career abroad, though teams might understandably be concerned about his gambling history at this point.

This is a dark day for the NBA. As legalized gambling continues to broaden its impact stateside, it was clear that Silver would have to enact a harsh penalty to disincentivize this kind of behavior from ever happening again.