NBA Referee Reveals His Shady Gambling Dealings In New BookDecember 4, 2009 11:49 am
Former N.B.A referee Tim Donaghy, who was released from prison last month after receiving a 15 month term for ‘conspiring with gamblers,’ has a new book out on Friday, called “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA.”
In the book, Donaghy explains how he first got started betting on sports events with his friend, Jack Concannon, and described the feeling of making winning picks as euphoric. He soon, however, developed a gambling addiction that meant by November 2003 he had crossed the point of no return when he began betting on NBA results, even the games he was refereeing.
Tim Donaghy was insistent he never fixed any of the games, but was able to determine results by an in depth knowledge of the “relationships that existed between referees and players, referees and coaches and referees and owners that influence the point spreads in games.”
Basically, he asserted that officials’ biases for and against certain players and teams meant decisions made during the game were far from fair and often determined the referees’ decisions given during play.For instance, Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson, had threatened an official and, as he explains, despite being fined $25,000 “we felt as a group that he should have been suspended. And because he wasn’t, we felt like we should teach him a lesson. And I knew that the other two referees and I sought to do a little justice of our own.All the players know” that some refs can be biased.” Donaghy said.
Whatever the case may be, his 75% success rate at picking results soon drew the attention of New York crime family the Gambinos, and he commented:
“They basically told me that I needed to give them the picks and if I didn’t, that it’s a possibility that somebody would go down and visit my wife and kids in Florida..It was a horrible choice.”
Donaghy bet on around 100 games in a single year, netting millions for the Mafia and receiving $2,000 from the syndicate each time he picked a winner. Eventually, however, it all caught up with him and he was arrested and sentenced to 15 months prison.
Striking a penitent note on the fiasco and his personal disgrace, Donaghy concluded, “We all have choices to make in life and when we decide to go down that wrong road we would be better off backing up. … Not only do you affect your life … but the lives of the people you love the most.”