Gaming the Game: The Story of the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen

Gaming the Game: The Story of the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen


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In June 2007, the FBI informed the NBA that one of its referees, Tim Donaghy, was the subject of a probe into illegal gambling. Within months, the public knew the broad outlines of a scheme involving Donaghy betting on games he officiated with a co-conspirator, longtime Donaghy acquaintance and professional gambler Jimmy Baba Battista. They were joined in the scandal by a mutual childhood friend, Tommy Martino. By November 2008, each man had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the conspiracy, and was in federal prison. The story was over. Or so it seemed to be. Researched with dozens of interviews, court documents, betting records, referee statistics, and unique access to witness statements and confidential law enforcement files, GAMING THE GAME looks inside the FBI's investigation and beyond to provide the definitive account of the scandal. Jimmy Battista's remarkable decades-long bookmaking and betting career is examined, including and especially his role as architect of the widely publicized scandal. Battista, who - unlike his co-conspirators - never spoke with federal authorities, reveals for the first time the intricate details of the scheme, most of which only he knows.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781569804445
Publisher: Barricade Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/16/2011
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Sean Patrick Griffin, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice at Penn State Abington, is the author of two books on African-American organized crime including Black Brothers Inc., The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia's Black Mafia from which BET based an episode of its "American Gangster" series, and has been optioned to be made into at least one motion picture by Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions for Warner Brothers Studios. He resides in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters xiii

Prologue xix

1 Humble Jim 1

2 Baba the Black Sheep 5

3 Taking His Lumps 13

4 The Gambling Grocer 23

5 Eye of the Tiger 33

6 Sharpening Up 45

7 Go West, Black Sheep 63

8 Shady People in Sunny Places 77

9 Parting Ways, Glory Days 89

10 Standing on Top of the Sports Betting World 97

11 The Sharps 113

12 There's Someone in Stripes on My Side 127

13 Jimmy, Tommy, and Timmy 137

14 Trouble Shooting 153

15 The Harder They Fall 167

16 The Dance 177

17 Gambling Investigation Rocks NBA 187

18 The Dog Days of Summer 197

19 Former N.B.A. Referee Pleads Guilty 207

20 What Characters 219

21 Team Donaghy's Assault on Justice 237

22 An Hour to a Little Kid Is a Long Time 253

Epilogue: State of the Sheep 263

Appendix: NBA Scandal Betting Analysis 275

Source Notes 297

Glossary of Terms 309

Acknowledgments 315

Index 321

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