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Michael Porter Jr. Reacts to Brother Jontay’s Gambling Scandal

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Champion Denver Nuggets starting small forward Michael Porter Jr. addressed the media following a 104-97 home defeat to a star-heavy Phoenix Suns club on Wednesday night. In the loss, Porter scored 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field (2-of-7 from beyond the arc) and 2-of-2 shooting from the charity stripe, eight rebounds and two steals.

But gathered reporters were likely more curious about an off-court issue that doesn’t even directly involve Porter. To wit, he finally unpacked the gambling scandal surrounding his little brother, two-way Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter, according to ESPN News Services. The younger Porter is being investigated after large sums of money were bet on the under for him in various categories across two recent contests. He’s currently away from the team.

“I’ve known my brother my whole life,” Porter said. “Jontay loves the game of basketball. … 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.”

Porter noted that he’s heard attendees of games in which he’s played address him directly, during games, about his over/unders.

Michael Porter Jr. Jontay Porter
Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets and Jontay Porter #4 of the Memphis Grizzlies shake hands after the game at Ball Arena on April 26, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Jontay has found himself…


C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images

“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,” he 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.”

DraftKings and FanDuel are the NBA’s “co-official sports betting partners.” The cozy relationship between the league and legal sports gambling firms has blurred the lines around a formerly taboo activity that no professional sports league would sanction.

“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 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.”

The NBA is not alone. The NFL and MLB have also signed their own contractual agreements with legal gambling firms.

“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,” Porter opined.

In 26 contests with the Raptors this year (five starts), Jontay Porter has averaged 4.4 points on a .385/.333/.833 slash line, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks. With Toronto’s G League affiliate, the Raptors 905, Jontay Porter has averaged 13.1 points on a still-inefficient .344/.298/.636 shooting splits, 10.9 rebounds, six assists, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 steals.