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Nuggets Michael Porter Jr. on reported gambling investigation centering on brother: “I know Jontay loves the game of basketball”

Michael Porter Jr. said he doesn’t believe his younger brother Jontay would put himself in a position to violate the NBA’s gambling policy.

The comments came Wednesday night after Denver’s 104-97 loss to Phoenix and represent his first since ESPN reported the NBA opened an investigation Monday into suspicious activities on prop bets related to Jontay Porter’s play during games in January and March.

“I know what you guys know,” Michael Porter Jr. said during a postgame news conference. “I know Jontay loves the game of basketball. He’s been really excited to play with the Raptors. So, I know just as much as you guys know at this point. I have known my brother my whole life. I know what type of dude he is.

“I know he’s excited to play basketball and highly doubt that he would do anything to put that in jeopardy.”

Jontay Porter hasn’t played in any of Toronto’s past three games due to what the team has called “personal reasons.” He is on a two-way contract this year and has a salary of $415,000.

The proliferation of sports gambling has touched all corners of sports in the United States. The NFL’s suspended dozens of players and league personnel over the past two years, as commissioner Roger Goodell pointed out Tuesday during the league’s spring meetings. Baseball now has a major betting story on its hands, too, regarding the interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Michael Porter Jr. said he hears about gambling every day.

“Especially the last few years, you hear it more from the people in the crowd … what they need you to score tonight or what they don’t want you to score,” he said. “Every night you are disappointing someone. You’re disappointing the people if you score too much because they may have bet on the under, and you are disappointing people if you didn’t score enough. It’s part of the game now. I think that it’s obviously a dangerous habit, a dangerous vice for people. … It’s definitely something that has kind of taken over the sports world.

“I don’t know if it is a good thing or bad thing.”

If the billboards and arena sports books and between-quarter segments weren’t signal enough, all one had to do Wednesday was walk into the Denver locker room and ask the person closest to the door about the proliferation of gambling to understand just how thoroughly times have changed.

Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon told The Denver Post he’s planning on investing in a gambling website, an opportunity he said came to his attention only in recent days.

“Every day you hear about sports betting,” Gordon said. “I’m about to invest in a betting company myself. It’s called Rebet. It’s a social media platform that you can bet on different professional sports leagues. You can basically do a lineup of bets and show your friends. Your friends can push ‘rebet’ and make the same bet as you or go against you.”

Did that come with any red tape or work to do through the league?

“Nothing. As long as I don’t bet on the NBA, I’m good.”

The NBA’s 2023 collective bargaining agreement allows players to hold a passive stake in a gambling company as long as the player doesn’t hold more than 1% of the company (if the company offers NBA-related bets) and doesn’t promote NBA-specific gambling.

Gordon says the rules are simple.

“Don’t bet on the NBA,” he said. “Don’t tip anybody on the NBA. No betting, no tipping.”

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