A number of New York Knicks players allegedly participated in a point-shaving scheme involving a major East Coast drug dealer in the early 1980s, according to the recently released "Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI," by Brian Tuohy.
As outlined by the New York Post, Tuohy reveals a major FBI probe into the Knicks beginning with the 1981-82 season, when the team was led by guard Michael Ray Richardson. The investigation stemmed from a local drug dealer who had recently begun earning huge winnings from betting on the Knicks:
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.
FBI agents believed Knicks players, possibly including Richardson, were helping their dealer as a favor. At the time, the league was going through a major crisis involving cocaine use, and commissioner David Stern would eventually ban Richardson from the league indefinitely in 1986.
Asked by The Post about the claims, Richardson denied his team ever impacted games to benefit gamblers. However, Tuohy says, "You can see how easily [players] can get hooked on some drug, be gambling themselves and get in deep with a bookie."
The actual names of the players and dealer involved are redacted in the FBI documents that Tuohy obtained. No arrests were ever made as a result of the investigation, which expanded to the dealer working with "various professional basketball teams to shave points" before ending in 1986.
As Tuohy notes, not long after the investigation ended, the NBA and FBI instituted the Sports Presentation Program to discuss "the dangers of sports gambling and bribery" with players. He suggests that's not a coincidence, although no legal action ever occurred.
Tuohy's book published Sept. 3.