NBA Bans Player For Life After Betting On Games: How A Potential Fake Illness Almost Won $1 Million

Zinger Key Points
  • An NBA player was banned from the league for life after an investigation showed he bet on games.
  • The investigation was prompted by unusual bets on his player props.

An investigation into the sports betting activity of Jontay Porter led to his becoming the first NBA player given a lifetime ban for gambling activities in over 70 years. He is also one of the few people to get a lifetime ban from the league by current commissioner Adam Silver.

What Happened: The NBA's report said Porter disclosed confidential information to other sports bettors along with also betting on NBA games himself.

"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," Silver said.

A key date in the investigation was a March 20 game of Porter's Toronto Raptors. The investigation found that Porter disclosed health information ahead of the game to a bettor. An $80,000 parlay bet was placed with a sportsbook to win $1.1 million. The bet was not paid out and was part of the prompt for the investigation.

The bet placed saw unders taken on Porter, predicting him to finish with low marks in statistical categories. Porter played only three minutes in the game before leaving due to illness. A report from Action Network said the betting line for Porter props at DraftKings Inc DKNG for that game was 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Porter had zero points and two rebounds in the game.

The investigation into Porter found that his health and early exits were often associated with spikes in betting on player props, which sometimes were the most profitable bets for users on sportsbooks like DraftKings.

Along with playing in 26 games for the Raptors during the 2023-2024 NBA season, Porter also played with the Raptors 905, the team's G League affiliate. While with the Raptors 905, Porter bet a reported $54,094 and profited $21,965.

Porter bet on the Raptors losing games on several occasions.

Along with DraftKings, Flutter Entertainment FLUT owned FanDuel was also named as a sportsbook that saw increased betting on Porter props according to ESPN.

Porter played a total of 37 NBA games for the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors prior to the ban. Porter averaged 3.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

In the G League, Porter played 33 games and averaged 10.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Porter was undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft after playing one year at Missouri University where he won the SEC Sixth Man of the Year and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

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Why It's Important: With the lifetime ban, Porter is the first to be kicked out or banned from the NBA for gambling since 1954, when Jack Molinas was banned by the league for a point shaving scandal.


Silver also previously put a lifetime ban on former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014 following an investigation into racist comments made. Silver forced the sale of the Clippers as part of the ruling.

The investigation and ban comes at a potentially difficult time for the sports betting sector.

Major League Baseball was rocked with a potential scandal when it was found that star player Shohei Ohtani's interpreter made bets. The investigation found that Ippei Mizuhara stole $16 million from Ohtani and lost $40 million gambling.

The NCAA president has recently spoken out about player props for college basketball players and how they should be banned. The comments came as multiple players reported harassment and threats made over missing certain statistics.

Porter’s brother, Michael Porter Jr., remains in the league as a key staple of the defending NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

The older Porter brother expressed support for Jontay priort to the lifetime ban. He also called into question the "dangerous vice" of people betting on player props.

"It's definitely something that has kind of taken over the sporting world – I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing," Porter Jr. said.

Read Next: NFL Draft 2024: Could Record Number Of Quarterbacks Be Taken In First Round?

Image: Shutterstock

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Posted In: Sports BettingSportsTop StoriesAdam SilverbasketballDonald SterlingFanduelJontay PorterNational Basketball AssociationNBAStories That MatterToronto Raptors
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