Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Latest revelations in the news re: the NBA scandal

Some media coverage of HBO's "Real Sports" segment of the NBA betting scandal, featuring Bryant Gumbel's interview with Jimmy Battista, follows below.  I have only linked to what I considered the three most comprehensive pieces, though dozens of sites offered their own takes on the revelations.  Obviously, as a result of this past year's research, I am in a position to knock down or confirm many of the (often ridiculous and irresponsible) rumors surrounding the scandal that appear in the the current news cycle.  Whatever speculation remains following the publication of Gaming the Game: The Inside Story of the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It All Happen will be addressed at that time. 

Philadelphia Inquirer

New York Times


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HBO's Real Sports on the NBA Scandal

This month's episode (#152, technically) of HBO's impressive "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" program briefly examines the NBA betting scandal by interviewing the architect of the scheme, James "Baba" Battista.  Battista, the primary subject of my forthcoming book, Gaming the Game: The Inside Story of the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It All Happen, speaks publicly about his role in the conspiracy for the first time.  The initial air date was 11/24 at 10p, though the show airs numerous times throughout the next few weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My forthcoming book on the NBA betting scandal

Much more information will soon be available regarding my forthcoming Gaming the Game: The Story Behind the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen.  Nineteen months and counting(!), I realize, but please know this would have been done ages ago if the project was simply a primary interview subject (pro gambler Jimmy "Baba" Battista) speaking into a tape recorder.
Documenting as much of the story as possible required considerable legwork, and I hope the readership appreciates the final product.  (Related note: It didn't help humoring interest from Hollywood throughout the process).

I will post as much info as possible when time and circumstances permit.  As a courtesy, I would very much appreciate interested parties contact me through Chuck Marsh of Penn State's University Relations Office.  Thanks as always for your understanding.

Donaghy book fiasco

Yes!  I am aware of NBA referee Tim Donaghy’s proposed book, Blowing the Whistle: Exposing the Culture of Fraud in the NBA, and of much hullaballoo surrounding it.  I have no comment on the book’s contents, however, simply because I have only seen the leaked excerpts first posted at  Importantly, however, I do have a few words for the conspiracy-minded out there who find it inconceivable a publisher would: sign a contract for a book, presumably pay an advance, design a cover, offer pre-release sales online, ONLY THEN to conduct “a close legal review of the final manuscript” and an “independent evaluation of some of the author's sources and statements” ultimately dumping the project because of "concerns over potential liability.".  I am sorry to say I can quite easily believe this is what occurred (i.e., without interference or pressure from an outside party such as the NBA).  Speak with authors, editors, and publishers and you’ll be shocked at how frequently dubious material gets through the process without ever being properly vetted.  Perhaps the NBA threatened legal action (as Donaghy's spokesperson Pat Berdan insists, despite the protestations of the league), but there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a conclusion and, if anything, there is a history of other “non-fiction” works suffering similar fates because of better-late-than-never vetting.  Here is a some coverage re: Blowing the Whistle:

Philadelphia Inquirer 10/30/09

Fox Sports 10/29/09

USA Today 10/29/09

ESPN 10/29/09