Okay, So Where’s the Mob?

Jontay Porter the ex-NBA player and his gambling syndicate buddy arrested at JFK Airport. Threats, racketeering and “doing a special… or you beat me up.”

There has to be a mob connection somewhere in this story.

That’s my take on the Brooklyn-based gambler, Long Phi “Bruce” Pham, being arrested by US authorities at JFK Airport in connection with the Jontay Porter scandal.

To review. Porter was a good, third-string player in the best basketball league in the world. He made about $1 million a year. This year, on two separate occasions, he engaged in spot fixing for a bunch of gamblers. The first time was January 26 – when he faked an injury to get himself pulled out a game. The second time, March 20, when he again claimed to be sick.

The betting syndicate bet on his underperformance. They made a massive amount of money on this relatively small player, in a series of niche bets.

The above is fact, confirmed by the player to investigators in April.

However, yesterday, the case got even more interesting because Long Phi Pham was arrested at the airport as he tried to leave the country for Australia.

His story – he is one of the world’s best poker players and was going to Sydney to participate in a tournament.

The Fed’s story – Long Phi Pham, that’s bullshit. Poker players don’t buy one-way tickets to a continent on the other side of the world. They go, play the tournament, and return. The cops name him as part of a syndicate that allegedly forced Porter to do their bidding because he was deep in their debt.

Four points:

If you are Jontay Porter, you should stay in your, now, home and native country. Nothing that Porter did was illegal in Canada. The federal politicians have still not, two years after legalizing gambling, made match-fixing a criminal offense.

Porter is one of an army of young athletes who are addicted to sports betting. Everything that makes them good at sports, makes them bad at gambling. Because many of the vaunted ‘education’ programs for sports leagues are run or sponsored by ‘experts’ or companies that are connected to the gambling industry, addiction is the dirty, big secret that few (this column being an exception) want to discuss.

  1. If the law enforcement version of the Jontay Porter story is true, and it has not been proven or legally tested in any way, the mob is involved in this case. If you are an athlete making hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, to get into debt you have to lose all your salary. Porter’s salary was roughly $410,000. This is serious money. At this level, with illegal bookies, there is an organized crime outfit that is bankrolling their operation.

Plus, if Porter was gambling with pals, he wold not risk his entire career, reputation and earnings by fixing, unless there was some very serious pressure on him.

This also counts for Long Phi Pham. If the mob was bankrolling his operation and leaning on Porter, you run for the hills. You get one-way tickets to Australia You do this not because you are afraid of the police but because you don’t want the mob silencing you.

  1. Finally, Jontay Porter, allegedly claimed this himself. In the legal complaint, the FBI shows a Telegram chat, where Porter writes, “If I don’t do a special with your terms. Then it’s up. And u hate me and if I don’t get u 8k by Friday you’re coming to Toronto to beat me up.”

Stay tuned, like the Shohei Ohtani story, this one has got a lot of distance to run.

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