A new book from author Brian Tuohy claims that “coked-up” members of the 1981-1982 New York Knicks team fixed NBA games as favors to their drug dealer in the midst of their terrible season.
In a follow-up reported by the New York Post, FBI informants noted that during the 1981-82 season, which was coached by Red Holzman and featured players such as Paul Westphal and Bill Cartwright, members of the team shaved points as a favor to drug dealers who bet big bucks against the 33-49 team.
Originally discovered by Brian Tuohy in his newest book titled, Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI, the author shedded light on allegations that three of the Knickerbockers’ most “coked-up” players fixed games to help drug dealers win bets in the 1980’s.
Below is an excerpt detailing how the favors took placet:
“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. By March 25, the coke dealer had won six of his seven five-figure bets against the Knicks — while continuing to make his normal $300 wagers on other NBA games.
‘Over… the last two months, all three [players] have given… tips on when to bet the Knicks to lose. This has occurred seven times and six of the tips were good,’ according to FBI files citing two unnamed “sources.”
The Post obtained these files which led to questioning the validity of the accusations. Considering the level of claims being levied towards the team as a whole, it does seem odd that there was no formal investigation by the National Basketball Association, the local New York authorities, or even a player charged with a crime. With the case officially closed in 1986, the names of the players and the dealer are redacted in the FBI documents, which The Post authenticated with the federal agency.
At the lowest of times for the Knicks organization, guard Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson still managed to average almost 18 points-per-game despite a rumored cocaine addiction.
He was famously quoted as saying, “The ship be sinking,” as the team finished last in the Atlantic Division. Richardson was banned for life from the NBA in 1986 for violating the NBA’s drug policy three times.
When asked by The Post about the point-shaving allegations, Richardson, now 58 and living in Texas, said, “Hell no! We never did anything like that.” The New York Knicks declined comment.