In the early 1980s, the FBI concluded that it “seemed to possess very credible information that three members of the New York Knicks were shaving points as a favour to their cocaine supplier,” according to FBI documents.
The documents are published in the new book Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI by Brian Tuohy.
The FBI has confirmed the authenticity of the documents cited by Tuohy to The New York Post.
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated reports that, according to the book, an FBI informant told the bureau that “one of the largest [drug] dealers on the East Coast” increased his bets on the Knicks from $US300 per game to $US10,000 per game during March 1982. Most of those bets were reportedly successful.
The informant said that the unnamed dealer was receiving “inside player information not known to the general public,” such as key players sitting out, from unnamed Knicks players during the 1981-82 season.
Tuohy writes that Knicks players even began betting against themselves.
From the FBI documents (via “Larceny Games”):
“Source further stated that at this point, he believes that the players must be betting against the Knicks to lose. … Source observed heavy betting by [redacted] toward the latter part of the NY Knicks season, on the Knicks to lose certain games. In each case, the Knicks did lose, or failed to cover the point spread on the game.”
Golliver notes that the 1981-82 Knicks finished with a 33-49 record, losing eight of their final nine games.
Tuohy notes that the FBI’s investigation continued for years but charges never materialised because of a lack of confessions and physical evidence.
The Post caught up with the team’s leading scorer, Micheal “Sugar” Ray Richardson, who was banned for life in 1986 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy after struggling with a cocaine addiction.
When asked about the point-shaving allegations, the four-time NBA All-Star told the Post: “Hell no! We never did anything like that.”
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