Details leak on what led NBA to ban Jontay Porter for life

Mike Battaglino
7 Min Read
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jontay Porter has been banned from the NBA after the league determined the Toronto Raptors player violated its rules involving gambling.

In a release sent out by the league, the NBA said Porter disclosed confidential information to sports bettors, limited his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes and bet on NBA games.

“The NBA announced today that Jontay Porter, a two-way player recently under contract with the Toronto Raptors, has been banned from the NBA,” the NBA announced. “A league investigation found that Porter violated league rules by disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games.

“The league’s investigation found that prior to the Raptors’ March 20 game, Porter disclosed confidential information about his own health status to an individual he knew to be an NBA bettor. Another individual with whom Porter associated and knew to be an NBA bettor subsequently placed an $80,000 parlay proposition bet with an online sports book, to win $1.1 million, wagering that Porter would underperform in the March 20 game.

“The league’s investigation also found that Porter limited his own game participation to influence the outcome of one or more bets on his performance in at least one Raptors game. In the March 20 game, Porter played only three minutes, claiming that he felt ill. Due to the unusual betting activity and actions of the player, the $80,000 proposition bet was frozen and was not paid out.

“In addition, from January through March 2024, while traveling with the Raptors or Raptors 905, the Raptors’ NBA G League affiliate, Porter placed at least 13 bets on NBA games using an associate’s online betting account. These bets ranged in size from $15 to $22,000, for a total of $54,094. The total payout from these bets was $76,059, resulting in net winnings of $21,965. None of the bets involved any game in which Porter played. Three of the bets were multi-game parlay bets that included one Raptors game, in which Porter bet that the Raptors would lose. All three bets lost.

“The suspicious bets involving Porter’s performance in the Raptors’ March 20 game were brought to the NBA’s attention by licensed sports betting operators and an organization that monitors legal betting markets.

“These findings are based on the information available to league investigators at this time. The league’s investigation remains open and may result in further findings. The NBA has shared and will continue to share information with federal prosecutors about this matter.”

Commissioner Adam Silver shared thoughts of his own.

“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. “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.”

Prior to the ruling, Shaquille O’Neal said if a teammate of his did what Porter was accused of, he’d have to “punch him in his face.” Porter earlier received support from his brother regarding the matter.

The situation is not the only one involving gambling to arise within the league this season. Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff revealed that he and his family have received threats over lost bets, and a report surfaced that LeBron James’ manager and business partner Maverick Carter admitted to betting on NBA games using an illegal bookie.

Porter appeared in 26 NBA games this season. He previously played 11 games for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2020-21 season. For Toronto, he averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest.

According to the statement, Porter’s actions were brought to the league’s attention by licensed sports betting operators and an organization that monitors legal betting markets.

The league’s investigation determined that prior to a game on March 20, Porter disclosed confidential information about his health status to someone he knew to be an NBA bettor. That bettor made a parlay wager expecting Porter’s underperformance in the game that would have returned more than $1 million.

Porter played less than three minutes in that game against the Sacramento Kings, saying he felt ill. The bet was frozen and not paid out.

Also, from January through March, while with the Raptors and in the G League, Porter placed at least 13 bets using an associate’s online account. None of the bets involved a game in which Porter himself played, but three parlay bets included one Raptors game.

Porter, a University of Missouri product who entered the league as an undrafted free agent, last played on March 22. The league said its investigation remains open and that it is sharing information on the matter with federal prosecutors.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.