Michael Porter Jr. breaks silence on NBA investigating his brother: ‘Jontay loves the game of basketball’

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

Michael Porter Jr. has come out in support of his brother Jontay amidst a gambling investigation into the Toronto Raptors player by the NBA.

“Jontay loves the game of basketball,” Michael Porter Jr. said.

The league reportedly is looking into gambling allegations involving Jontay Porter. They involve one game in January and one game in March when Jontay Porter left after playing briefly, citing injury or illness. That thereby had an effect on prop bets for his points, rebounds and 3-pointers for those games.

“I’ve known my brother my whole life,” Michael Porter Jr. said. “I know what type of dude he is and I know he’s excited to play basketball and I highly doubt he would do anything to put that in jeopardy.”

Jontay Porter has sat out Toronto’s past three games for personal reasons. The 24-year-old has not addressed the situation publicly as of yet.

He has played in 26 NBA games this season and is averaging 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest. It is his first season back in the league after playing 11 games for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2020-21 campaign.

Michael Porter Jr. won the NBA championship last season with the Denver Nuggets and made his first public comments about his brother’s situation following Denver’s game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. The 25-year-old is averaging 16.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in 72 appearances for Denver this season.

The Jontay Porter investigation is the latest troubling situation surrounding gambling to come up for the league recently. Earlier this month, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff revealed that he and his family have received threats over lost bets and parlays. Back in December, a report surfaced that LeBron James’ manager and business partner Maverick Carter admitted to betting on NBA games using an illegal bookie.

“Yeah, especially the last few years you hear people in the crowd saying what they need you to score tonight or what they don’t want you to score,” Michael Porter Jr. said. “Every night you’re disappointing someone. You’re disappointing people if you score too much because they may have bet on the under, and you’re disappointing people if you didn’t score enough.

“So, it’s a part of the game now. I think that it’s obviously a dangerous habit. It’s a dangerous vice for people. You know, the love of money is the root of all evil. So, I think that even though it is a thing, we as players just have to accept that. We get paid a lot of money to play this game and I know these people, these fans, they want to make some money, as well. …

“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.”

The league reportedly has relationships with at least 26 gaming operators, with FanDuel and DraftKings as its official gaming partners.

Toronto has already been eliminated from playoff contention this season. The Raptors are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a 23-50 record.

Denver, however, is heading back toward an attempted defense of its championship. The Nuggets lead the Western Conference with a 51-22 record heading into a showdown against the second-place Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

That means as the investigation goes on and new details possibly emerge, Michael Porter Jr. may have to make further comments and deal with the fallout while navigating the NBA Playoffs with the Nuggets trying to repeat as champions.

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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.