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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

NBA Bans Jontay Porter for Life After Gambling Investigation

  • A league investigation found the forward had bet on NBA games, including Raptors games.
  • Porter also gave private injury information to sports gamblers, the investigation found.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jontay Porter has played his last game in the NBA. 

The league announced on Wednesday that the Raptors center has received a lifetime ban for violating NBA rules. The league’s investigation found that he gave injury information to gamblers, bet on NBA games himself, and manipulated his own playing availability for betting purposes. Porter is the younger brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. 

“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,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. Silver alluded to prop bets, which the NCAA is currently seeking a ban on for college sports. “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. Working closely with all relevant stakeholders across the industry, we will continue to work diligently to safeguard our league and game.” 

The league release said that Porter told an NBA bettor about his health status ahead of a game against the Kings last month. Another gambler, according to the league, bet $80,000 to win more $1,000,000 on the under on Porter props in that game. The sportsbook did not pay out the bet “due to the unusual betting activity,” the statement said.

The league also found that between January and March of this year, while he was with both the Raptors and the team’s G League affiliate, Porter bet on 13 NBA games through someone else. He netted more than $20,000 on bets of more than $50,000, including parlays that had the Raptors losing. (The parlays didn’t hit.)

Those 13 bets ranged from $15 all the way to $22,000, the statement said.

NBA rules prohibit players from betting on the league or its other properties such as the WNBA or G League. Sports gambling is legal in 38 states, and players are allowed to bet on other sports or play fantasy basketball without cash prizes. Speaking to reporters last week, Silver called Porter’s allegations, if substantiated, “a cardinal sin.” 

The NBA said unnamed sportsbooks and integrity monitors informed the league about the March 20 bets on the Kings game. Porter was a role player for the Raptors and averaged 14 minutes per game. Against the Kings, Porter played just three minutes and exited due to illness after taking one shot and grabbing two rebounds. Sportsbooks had his over/under set at 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. All the unders on Porter’s prop bets hit.

In the release, the NBA said its investigation is still ongoing and could uncover more as it continues. The league said it has already shared its current findings with federal prosecutors. 

“Adherence to league gambling policies is paramount to maintaining the integrity of our athletes and protecting the future of the sport,” the players’ union said in a statement. “The NBPA will make sure Jontay has access to the resources he needs during this time, in light of the NBA’s decision. All players, including Jontay, should be afforded appropriate due process and opportunity to answer to any charges brought against them.”

When the news about Porter first hit, the suspicious gambling activity around him also concerned a Jan. 26 game against the Clippers. Porter’s props for that game were 5.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.5 three-pointers made, according to ESPN. Porter wound up playing just four minutes before exiting the game due to what the Raptors said was a previously sustained eye injury. He went scoreless against the Clippers with three rebounds and an assist, meaning the unders on his prop bets hit then, too. The NBA’s release mentioned nothing about the Clippers game but still found enough to ban Porter. 

On Wednesday, the Action Network reported that from 2021 to ’23 Porter owned and operated a VIP FanDuel account in Colorado that he used to wager millions of dollars. 

Porter was away from the Raptors from March 25 to the end of the regular season, when the NBA first opened its investigation. Prior to that investigation, he was having a breakthrough year in the NBA after going undrafted out of Missouri due to multiple ACL tears. Porter played 11 games for the Grizzlies during the 2020-21 season, which was part of a three-year, $2.4 million deal. He then bounced around the G League the next couple of seasons until the Raptors signed him as a two-way player in December on a $400,000 salary.

This breaking news story has been updated.

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