How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games
James»Jimmy»»Bah-Bah»»The Sheep» Battista was a stressed-out, overweight, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, at the pit to some underground gamblers for sums he had kind of lost track of, when he settled in to watch an NBA game for which he believed he’d simply put in the fix. It was January 2007. A month or so back, long before Christmas, he had done something audacious: 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 have ta pay the f—ing spread.» The bribe was only two dimes, $2,000 per match — an outrageous deal. In case the pick won, the ref got his two dimes. If the pick missed, then the ref owed nothing; Battista would consume the loss. A»free roll,» as they call it. However, this referee didn’t lose much. His selections were winning in an 88 percent clip, totally 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 understood the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 decades. They’d gone to the exact same parochial high school at the working-class Catholic neighborhoods of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, as it’s 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 that planet. He was what is known as a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are neither gamblers nor bookmakers. They’re a species of broker that supplies services to sports bettors, putting down wagers in their customers’ benefit with bookmakers of various types around the world, legal and not. Battista was set well in that world which, without Donaghy’s knowledge but predicated on Donaghy’s picks, he’d helped set up a kind of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several individuals from the sports-betting underworld had, in effect, staked Battista a bankroll — a fund that he was now having to bet on games officiated with this one NBA referee. One member of the group called it»the ticket» and»the company.»
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