Lifetime Ban Sends Strong Message to ‘Stupid’ Would-Be NBA Gamblers: Coach

NBA gambler Jontay Porter was banned for life by the league.

Getty NBA gambler Jontay Porter was banned for life by the league.

The NBA on Wednesday banned Jontay Porter for his involvement in gambling, and approximately no one in the league seemed to be surprised in the least.

The now former Raptors‘ forward, according to the NBA’s ongoing investigation, bet on league games and schemed on prop bets with another individual to take the under on the production of Porter, who then took himself out of games claiming to be ill.

The general reaction of those in discussion with Heavy Sports was encapsulated by the general manager who said, “I mean, what the f*** was he thinking? I can’t even imagine … unless he figured he was so insignificant as a player that no one would notice.”

NBA Bit Players a Gambling Risk

But that last part made him an even more perfect for the lead role in this cautionary tale, according to one NBA coach. Porter has played in just 37 NBA games over four years, spending most of his time in the G-League. He has reportedly made some $2.4 million. On a two-way contract with Toronto this season, he got into 26 games with the big club, averaging 4.4 points in 38.5 percent shooting in 13.8 minutes. He got even that much time because the Raptors are a general mess as they try to rebuild on the fly.

Commissioner Adam Silver would have had to deal harshly with anyone caught in this situation. Goofy conspiracy theories aside (does anyone honestly think if the NBA was engineering outcomes that over the last 25 years small market San Antonio would have five championships while the Knicks didn’t even make the playoffs 16 times?), a league cannot survive if there’s a sense things are not on the up and up.

Jontay Porter was a dead man dribbling, and Silver didn’t have to think twice.

“The league obviously didn’t want any of this stuff to ever happen, but once it did you knew they were going to send a message,” the aforementioned coach told Heavy. “This guy was the perfect candidate for that.

“What he did was bad and stupid, and it cuts to the core of the game’s integrity. So they HAD to come down on him. And the thing is, because he’s so unimportant as a player, no one’s going to make an issue about him being banned.

“You think if Pete Rose was some weak hitting guy going back and forth from the minors to the end of the bench in the majors that anyone would have batted an eyelash over him being banned from baseball? No. And no NBA team is going to be like, ‘Damn, we can’t have Jontay Porter.’

“Now the league gets to hold him up as a warning. ‘Screw around with gambling like this, and you’re out.’ They should put up his picture in every locker room.”

Jontay Porter ‘Was Stupid’

Porter’s lack of standing as a player will also give the story a shorter shelf life, though it will undoubtedly be mentioned as his brother, Michael Porter Jr., and the Nuggets proceed in the playoffs. And there will be another revisiting as federal prosecutors decide their course of action.

But it won’t be the same as if a major player was involved.

“That’s the thing,” the coach said. “You have to believe a guy making serious money would be smart enough not to risk it. Even with Porter, it was stupid. The league says he made, what, $22 grand net?

“Unless there’s something worse that comes out, he’s going to be a valuable example for the league to try to keep anything like this from ever happening again.”


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