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Michael Porter Jr. defends brother Jontay amid reported betting probe: ‘I know Jontay loves the game of basketball’

In Sports
March 28, 2024
Jontay Porter has not addressed the situation and missed the Raptors' last three games due to

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. said Wednesday that he believes his younger brother would not risk his NBA career to violate the league’s policy on gambling.

Jontay Porter, 25, was removed from the Toronto Raptors’ lineup ahead of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night. The NBA released a statement stating they were looking into multiple instances of betting irregularities in recent months, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“I know what you guys know,” Porter Jr. said after the Nuggets’ Wednesday night loss to the Phoenix Suns. “I know Jontay loves the game of basketball. He’s been really excited to play with the Raptors. So, I know just as much as you guys know at this point. I have known my brother my whole life. I know what type of dude he is.

“I know he’s excited to play basketball and highly doubt that he would do anything to put that in jeopardy.”

Wojnarowski went on to report that the NBA is investigating two specific games where there was increased betting interest on the under for several Porter prop bets.

The first game took place on Jan. 26, when the Raptors took on the Los Angeles Clippers. Porter played just four minutes in that game, and then left due to an eye injury he sustained days earlier. Porter finished with no points, three rebounds, one assist and did not attempt a 3-pointer — which allowed the under to hit on all four of those categories. The under on Porter’s 3-pointers was the biggest money winner for bettors on all NBA props that day through DraftKings Sportsbook, according to ESPN.

Then on March 20, when the Raptors played the Phoenix Suns, Porter played in just three minutes before he was ruled out due to an illness. He finished with no points, two rebounds and one missed shot. The under once again hit on all of those categories, and his prop bets were again the top moneymaker from the night on NBA games through DraftKings Sportsbook, per the report.

There were multiple betting accounts that tried to place large amounts — “upwards of $10,000 and $20,000” — on Porter unders in the first game in question, per Wojnarowski. While it depends on the sportsbook, player prop bets are typically limited to $2,000 max per bet.

NBA players and all league employees are not allowed to place bets on any NBA games — whether that’s on the game itself or prop bets of any kind.

Jontay Porter, who is in his first season with the Raptors, is on a two-way contract for the 2023-24 season that carries a $415,000 salary. He has not addressed the situation and has missed the team’s last three games due to “personal reasons.”

Michael Porter Jr. noted how players now will hear from fans about how their performance affects bets and just how much gambling has become linked with the sports world.

“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,” Porter Jr. said. “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.”

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