Police investigating suspected corruption in NBL match after player brags about 'winnings'

Corruption allegations have engulfed New Zealand's National Basketball League, with police investigating a match between the Taranaki Mountain Airs and the Supercity Rangers.

With time almost up in the clash earlier this season, Taranaki scored to bring the score to 94-85 in Supercity's favour, a lead of nine points, with just under two seconds remaining, NZ Herald reports.

Normally, the team would run out the clock but the Rangers made the unusual ploy of calling a timeout before hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer to increase the margin to 12 points.

One of the more popular betting options at the TAB is for a winning margin by 11 points or more.

The Herald on Sunday also claims that an unnamed player was bragging about his winnings after the match.

The NBL are investigating the match along with police.

Rangers coach Jeff Green has denied any wrongdoing, saying that his team were disappointed when their lead was cut from 11 to nine points.

"We're gutted any time a team scores," Green told Radio Sport.

"It's just ludicrous to suggest that anything was untoward. We'll go through the process as [Basketball New Zealand chief executive] Iain Potter has outlined, and we have nothing to worry about."

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Lebron James behind 'Shut Up and Dribble', a three-part documentary series

LeBron James has yet to play a minute for the Los Angeles Lakers, yet the NBA superstar is already busy in Hollywood.

James is behind the three-part documentary series, "Shut Up and Dribble," announced Monday by Showtime.

Set to debut in October, the same month James suits up for his new team, the series looks at the changing role of athletes in the current political and cultural climate against the backdrop of the NBA.

Its title comes from a comment Fox News host Laura Ingraham made to James in February when she sought to rebuke him for talking politics during an interview.

James is the executive producer of the series along with his business partner Maverick Carter and his agent Rich Paul. Gotham Chopra, who directed Showtime's "Kobe Bryant's Muse" in 2015, helmed the project.

The series traces the modern history of the league and its players starting with the 1976 merger of the freewheeling American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association, how the top players have expanded their notoriety off the court in fields such as business and fashion while becoming icons in the process.

James has another show, "The Shop" debuting August 28 on HBO in which he leads conversation and debate among his guests in barbershops around the country.

James found himself drawn into politics last week when President Donald Trump unleashed a withering attack on him in a tweet after an interview aired with CNN anchor Don Lemon in which he deemed Trump divisive.

Although James has long been a Trump critic, calling the president "U bum" in a 2017 tweet, the tweet was Trump's first attack on the player, who just opened up a school for underprivileged children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

"Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon," Trump posted. "He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do."

FILE - In this Monday, July 30, 2018, file photo, LeBron James speaks at the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. James has yet to play a minute for the Los Angeles Lakers, yet the NBA superstar is churning out content for the small screen. James is behind the three-part documentary series "Shut Up and Dribble" announced Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, by Showtime. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)
LeBron James. Source: Associated Press

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Police investigate NZ NBL game amid 'inappropriate betting' allegations

Allegations of illegal betting in the National Basketball League has seen the police called in to investigate.

NBL chairman and Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter, confirmed to the New Zealand Herald police are looking at allegations of "inappropriate betting" in a recent NBL game.

"Basketball New Zealand was recently advised of allegations of inappropriate betting activities linked to a National Basketball League game. It is imperative that the integrity of our sport be protected," Potter told the NZ Herald.

"We have referred the allegations to the New Zealand Police and they have decided to pursue this further, which we welcome."

A statement released by police this afternoon addressed the matter.

"Police are well aware of the potential risk that match-fixing and other related activity can have on the integrity of sporting competition," National Manager, Financial Crime Group, Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman says.

"Police take match-fixing allegations seriously and are committed to ensuring New Zealand sport is corruption-free. We encourage all those involved in sport who have information about criminal behaviour to contact police."

Potter had already said the league was itself investigating a game at the end of July between the Supercity Rangers and the Taranaki Mountain Airs.

In that game, while there was only two seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, a basket from the Airs cut the Rangers' lead down to nine points at 94 - 85.

The Rangers then took a timeout and upon resumption hit a last-second three pointer to push the lead back out to 12 points.

A TAB betting option sees punters able to bet on a team to win by 11 or more.

This is unusual as teams in this position would typically run down the clock to end the game instead of going for a last-second basket.

However, Rangers coach Jeff Green, who the NZ Herald reports has denied any wrongdoing by his team, says the timeout was made to give a departing player a final shot.

Basketball New Zealand and the NZ NBL board are taking the allegations very seriously, the NZ Herald reports Potter as saying.

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