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FBI informants in book: 1980s Knicks players fixed games for drug dealers

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

The New York Post followed up on reporting from a new book on crime in sports and confirmed FBI files featuring claims from informants that members of the New York Knicks in the 1980's fixed games to help drug dealers win bets.

Coked-up Knicks players fixed games as a favor to their drug dealer — who bet big bucks against the anemic New York squad, FBI informants claimed during the 1981-82 season.

The feds probed whether three Knicks, reportedly "heavy users of cocaine," and their supplier, "one of the largest dealers on the East Coast," shaved points, according to FBI documents cited in Brian Tuohy's book, "Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI."

The dealer was a degenerate gambler who usually bet $300 a game, informants told investigators, but in January 1982 he began laying $10,000 wagers on Knicks' opponents -- and winning them.

By March 25, the coke dealer had won six of his seven five-figure bets against the Knicks -- while continuing to make his normal $300 wagers on other NBA games.

"Over . . . the last two months, all three [players] have given . . . tips on when to bet the Knicks to lose. This has occurred seven times and six of the tips were good," according to FBI files citing two unnamed "sources."

via Knicks players fixed games for drug dealer in '80s: FBI | New York Post.

Eventually, the case collapsed, according to the files the Post obtained, leading to questions as to the validity of the accusations. After all, considering the severity of the allegations, if there was fire to go with that smoke, wouldn't there have been some level of formal investigation or someone charged? The case was officially closed in 1986.

Michael Ray Richardson led the Knicks in 1981-82 in scoring and denied the allegations to the Post. In Red Holzman's final season as coach, New York finished 33-49.

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