Michael Porter Jr. defends brother Jontay amid betting probe

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Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. said Wednesday night that he’s sure younger brother Jontay would never do anything to jeopardize his budding NBA career.

Jontay Porter, a forward for the Toronto Raptors, is under investigation by the NBA following multiple instances of betting irregularities over the past several months, sources told ESPN earlier this week. At issue are prop bets involving Porter from games on Jan. 26 and March 20, sources said. An NBA spokesman told ESPN that the league is “looking into it.”

Michael Porter Jr. took the podium following the Nuggets’ loss at home to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night and was asked about the probe involving his brother.

Michael Porter Jr. said he has no more details than the media does but he vouched for his brother, who at 24 is a year younger than him, saying, “Jontay loves the game of basketball” and has been thrilled to play for Toronto on a two-way contract this season.

“I’ve known my brother my whole life. I know what type of dude he is and I know he’s excited to play basketball and I highly doubt he would do anything to put that in jeopardy,” Michael Porter Jr. said.

Jontay Porter hasn’t publicly addressed the situation, and he has missed the past couple of the Raptors’ games, with the team citing personal reasons.

The younger Porter is averaging 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26 games, including five starts. The 6-foot-10 Porter also played in 11 games for Memphis in the 2020-21 season.

NBA players, along with all league employees, are prohibited from betting on any NBA events, including prop bets. Violations of the policy could include fines, suspensions and possible termination of contracts, among other actions.

Michael Porter Jr. said he and others regularly hear how their on-court performance affects bettors.

“Yeah, especially the last few years you hear people in the crowd saying what they need you to score tonight or what they don’t want you to score,” he said. “Every night you’re disappointing someone. You’re disappointing people if you score too much because they may have bet on the under, and you’re disappointing people if you didn’t score enough.

“So, it’s a part of the game now. I think that it’s obviously a dangerous habit. It’s a dangerous vice for people,” he added. “You know, the love of money is the root of all evil. So, I think that even though it is a thing, we as players just have to accept that. We get paid a lot of money to play this game and I know these people, these fans, they want to make some money, as well.

“It’s definitely something that has kind of taken over the sporting world — I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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