Home » NBA bans former Mizzou standout Jontay Porter for life following gambling investigation

NBA bans former Mizzou standout Jontay Porter for life following gambling investigation

NBA bans former Mizzou standout Jontay Porter for life following gambling investigation

Former Missouri men’s basketball standout Jontay Porter has been banned for life by the National Basketball Association for violating rules regarding sports betting.

The league announced the ban of Porter, 24, on Wednesday as it concluded an investigation into suspicious betting activity around his performances.

The center, who was on a two-way contract, had found a role with the Toronto Raptors this season before the onset of the scandal that ultimately ended his career.

According to the NBA’s investigation, Porter gave “confidential information” to a bettor before the Raptors’ March 20 game against the Sacramento Kings, leading to an $80,000 parlay bet placed on Porter that would’ve won $1.1 million had it not been flagged and frozen for unusual activity. Porter only played three minutes in that game after saying he felt sick.

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While he was with both Toronto and its G-League affiliate, Porter also placed at least 13 bets on NBA games using another person’s sportsbook account, the NBA found. He did not play in any of the games involved in those bets, though he did wager that the Raptors would lose in one situation. That betting activity netted Porter $21,965 in winnings, per the NBA investigation.

A sportsbook and sports betting watchdog notified the NBA of suspicious activity — which included heavy bets on Porter’s “unders,” or sub-betting line performances — following the March 20 game, prompting the investigation of Porter. 

He is now permanently barred from playing in the NBA.

“There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport,” commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement, “which is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of our gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment.”

Porter functionally played one season at Mizzou, the 2017-2018 campaign. He made seven starts while appearing in 33 games that season, scoring 9.9 points per game with 6.8 rebounds.

That was enough to earn Porter a share of the Southeastern Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. His scoring at the end of that regular season propelled the Tigers to an NCAA Tournament bid. 

Porter decided to return to MU for his sophomore year, only to tear both his ACL and MCL in a preseason scrimmage. He tore his ACL again during the rehabilitation process but still entered his name in the NBA Draft. 

He went undrafted but signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. He bounced between the NBA and G-League before signing a two-way contract with Toronto in December. 

Porter played part of his high school career at Father Tolton in Columbia, where he won a state championship. His older brother, Michael Porter Jr., and sister, Cierra Porter, both played for Mizzou. Jevon Porter, Jontay’s younger brother, is a potential transfer portal acquisition this offseason for the Tigers.

The NBA’s ban of Porter comes at a time of rising concern regarding the proximity and effect of legalized sports betting with leagues that incorporate sportsbooks’ sponsorships and odds into broadcasts. 

NCAA President Charlie Baker has advocated for the banning of prop bets in college sports, which he said are “continuing to threaten the integrity of competition and leading to student-athletes getting harassed.”

Porter has not publicly addressed the NBA’s investigation or his betting activity. His brother, Michael, previously told reporters he didn’t think Jontay would risk his career by gambling.

“I’ve known my brother my whole life. 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,” Michael Porter Jr. said.

Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III says Missouri is losing tax revenue by not legalizing betting. Sports teams and fans would benefit, too.