Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Source: Gambler claims 13 referees involved in NBA betting scandal
7News sports director Joe Amorosino is reporting the following:
BOSTON -- A source tells 7Sports that the gambler at the center of the 2008 NBA betting scandal says 13 referees were involved.
Jimmy "The Sheep" Battista pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transmit wagering information in connection with disgraced NBA official Tim Donaghy and served 15 months in federal prison.
The source also tells 7Sports that Battista claims he has the phone records to prove his contact with these 13 referees.
Donaghy served 15 months in federal prison for providing inside tips on NBA games to a professional gambler in exchange for money.
When the scandal broke in June of 2008, NBA commissioner David Stern called Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal."
The source tells 7Sports that Battista says he had a "Big-5" of dependable referees with Tim Donaghy being the "King" as Battista called him, who the gambler says delivered a winning bet 78 percent of the time in games he officiated.
The 7Sports source says that on December 12, 2006, the night before the Celtics played the Philadelphia 76ers, Battista says he met with Donaghy and a mutual high school friend.
On that night, the gambler claims they made a deal which according to Battista involved Donaghy supplying information including injury reports and referee assignments and Battista making the bets.
The source says that according to Battista, the first game the two men bet on together was the Celtics-76ers game the following night -- a game Donaghy officiated and one the Celtics covered with ease.
The Celtics were 1 1/2 point favorites, but with 10 minutes to play in the third quarter, the score was tied.
The Celtics would eventually go on to win by 20 points.
The source says Battista is making these claims as he works to finalize a tell-all book deal.
Posted by Jon Abbey at 8:06 PM