How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games
James”Jimmy””Bah-Bah””The Sheep” Battista was a stressed-out, obese, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, in the pit to some underground gamblers for sums he had sort of lost track of, when he settled in to watch an NBA game he believed he’d simply put in the fix. It was January 2007. A month or so back, not long before Christmas, he had done something adventuresome: He’d sat down and cut a deal with an NBA referee. He feared the scheme had become overly obvious.
“You want get compensated?” Battista had stated to the ref. “Then you gotta pay the f–ing spread.” The bribe was only two dimes, $2,000 per game — an outrageous bargain. If the pick won, the ref got his two dimes. In case the choice missed, the ref owed nothing; Battista would consume the reduction. A”free roster,” as they call it. But this referee did not lose much. His picks were winning at an 88% clip, entirely unheard of in sports gambling for any sustained time period. They were now entering the sixth week of the scheme — what you could call a sustained time period.
Battista had known the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 decades. They’d gone to the same parochial high school in the working-class Catholic neighborhoods of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, as it is sometimes called — in which the sports bars are abundant, where a certain easy familiarity with forms of betting prevails, where men have bookies like they’ve got dentists.
Battista was a creature of the planet. He was what is known as a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are gamblers nor bookmakers. They’re a species of agent that provides services to sports bettors, laying down wagers in their customers’ benefit with bookmakers of various sorts around the Earth, legal and not. Battista was set well in that world which, without Donaghy’s understanding but based on Donaghy’s picks, he had helped set up a sort of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several people from the sports-betting underworld had, in effect, staked Battista a basketball — a fund he was currently having to bet games officiated by this one NBA referee. One member of this group called it”the ticket” and”the corporation.”
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