The NBA (National Basketball Association) is the most popular basketball league in the world. Unfortunately, before it became what it is today, this league went through a dark period, especially because of sports betting. This activity has been widespread in the history of sports for several decades, and some people have taken advantage of it to make a lot of money.
In this article, Lucky7Bonus is going to bring you two stories around game fixing in the NBA and NCAA. The first story is going to be the testimony of a former NBA referee who was sentenced to jail time for stories of match fixing.
The second story Lucky7Bonus is going to tell you is about a former NBA player who became a real figure in the sports betting world of corruption.
Explanation of sports betting
Before we begin this article and list two exceptional stories, Lucky7Bonus would like to explain in a few lines how sports betting works.
First of all, you should know that it is possible to bet on almost every sport in the world such as: soccer, basketball, tennis, badminton, even table tennis. For each game, you can have several types of bets offered. For example, in soccer you can bet on :
Winner of the meeting
Number of goals
Who are the scorers
And a whole lot of other bets. This is the same for all sports and the bets offered vary depending on the activity. Each bet has an odds. These are defined according to several criteria. The minimum odds are 1. The closer the odds are to 1, the greater the chances of your bet actually succeeding.
For example, odds of 1.10 are more likely to succeed than odds of 10. To calculate your final win, it's not complicated: odds x stake = win. For example: odds: 1.10 x stake: €100 = potential winnings if you win: €110.
Thus, it is an activity that never stops and can make you a lot of money, especially if you start fixing matches, as you will read in the following stories.
Tim Donaghy, the NBA referee who ended up in jail
The first story is about a referee, Tim Donaghy. It is in 1994 that this American started his career as a referee in NBA. Officiating on hundreds of games throughout his career, Tim Donaghy seems to be a referee like the others.
Unfortunately, his reputation was tarnished in 2007, when a huge scandal broke. After several months of investigation, the FBI revealed that the referee was involved in a betting scam. For several months, this referee was betting on the matches he was going to referee. This large-scale investigation brought to light a traffic that seemed to be from another time.
How many matches have been rigged? How could this happen? None of the answers will be given, but, faced with the magnitude of this case, Tim Donaghy had to resign from his position.
That same year, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison. He reportedly valued his sports betting winnings at nearly $100,000. In a book entitled Personal Foul the referee denies having negatively influenced the games he refereed and bet on. He explains that he won all his bets because of his knowledge of basketball and that all the fouls that deserved to be whistled were. In addition, he looked at which referees he was going to officiate with, because each one had a specificity and he bet according to their way of officiating.
This case is a stain in the NBA. Indeed, in history, some playoff series are known to have had a bizarre outcome, including in 2002 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings. Largely dominating, the Sacramento Kings lost in game 6 (112-106) making the Lakers come back in the race for the NBA finals (3-3). If this game is so scandalous, it is because 27 free throws were obtained by Los Angeles on the last quarter, which is colossal, because this figure is normally the number of shots obtained on a game.
If it is so scandalous, it is because in an open letter, the referee Tim Donaghy asserts that this match was rigged, accusations that were denied at the time and that we still do not know the truth.
Upon his release from prison, Tim Donaghy continued to make news by accusing numerous referees and games of being rigged. This story has done a lot of damage to the NBA's reputation and raises a crucial question in sports: how much can a referee influence the outcome of a game?
Jack Molinas, from NBA player with exceptional potential to prison
There are fates that are sometimes incomprehensible, and this is the case of Jack Molinas. This American grew up in a wealthy family. At the age of 12, he decided to take up basketball and quickly realized that he was well above average. At the same time, he started betting on the games he played in. Yes, at only 12 years old, he starts betting.
For six years, Jack Molinas bet on the wins and losses of the games he played. Seeing his business as more and more lucrative, he decides to start betting with other people and also, to sell some information.
But before being a game fixer, Jack Molinas is first and foremost an excellent basketball player. In 1950, he joined the University of Colombia and decided to bet less. However, after a brawl with his team, he was expelled for almost 6 months. When he returned, Jack Molinas realized one thing: he could only count on himself. And it is from this precise day that things are going to go very fast. He now decides to bet every second game he plays in.
Despite his corruption, Jack Molinas continues to prove that he is a very high level basketball player. In 1953, he is selected at the 3rd position of the draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons.
Now in the NBA, Jack Molinas has a great career ahead of him, and he knows it. However, the lure of money is far too great and the young man continues to bet on the games he plays.
However, the young man flares up too much and his way of life starts to interest some journalists who wonder how a young man can spend so much money while earning a not very high salary. A private investigator is hired, phone tapping takes place and in 1954, Jack Molinas is arrested and immediately banned from the NBA.
Despite being in the spotlight, Molinas isn't stopping. The NBA didn't want him anymore, so he decided to turn to the NCAA. He bribed several players and decided to extend his influence to boxing and horse racing.
For several years, Jack Molinas pocketed large sums of money, but his operation ended in 1962. That year, he was arrested for corrupting nearly 60 games, 37 players were arrested and 22 universities were involved in this large-scale sports betting operation.
Jack Molinas is sentenced to 15 years in prison and gets out after only 4 years. He continues his trafficking, but his influence is more and more questioned to such an extent that he is murdered at his home by a hitman on August 3, 1975.
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