OKLAHOMA CITY — Lakers star LeBron James said Thursday night that it wasn’t until “the last 24 hours” that he became aware that his longtime business manager and business partner Maverick Carter reportedly made bets through an illegal bookie.
The Washington Post, citing federal law enforcement records that they reviewed, reported on Thursday afternoon that Carter admitted to placing bets on NBA games during a November 2021 interview with federal agents who were investigating bookie Wayne Nix.
Carter told federal agents he “could not remember placing any bets on the Lakers” and denied placing bets for other people, according to the report by the Washington Post. Nix has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his role running an offshore sports-betting ring.
Adam Mendelsohn, a spokesman for Carter and James, said in a statement to the Washington Post: “In 2021 and before 38 states and the District of Columbia legalized sports betting, Maverick Carter was interviewed a single time by federal law enforcement regarding their investigation into Wayne Nix. Mr. Carter was not the target of the investigation, cooperated, was never charged, and never contacted again on the matter.”
The Washington Post reported that Mendelsohn declined to answer questions about James, saying Carter’s bets had “nothing to do with him.” James, speaking following the Lakers’ 133-110 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, said he wasn’t concerned about the perception of the situation.
“Maverick’s his own man and at the end of the day, gambling is legal,” James said. “I mean, you can go on your phone right now and do whatever you want. And he has no affiliation with the NBA or NFL, so, he can do what he wants to do.”
Some NBA personnel – including coaches, players, staff members and agents – aren’t allowed to bet on games but there aren’t rules prohibiting business managers from placing wagers.
James said he’s noticed more gambling rhetoric recently.
“It’s weird that some of our regular fans [who] love the game kind of only care about a parlay now – I guess that’s the word everybody is using,” James added. “It’s kind of taken some of the integrity out of the game because people are kind of really only caring about the betting. I mean, it’s always [happened]. It’s been going on for years. But it’s legalized now. The majority, right? I think it’s in 38-plus states. So, I mean, to each his own.”
James added: “You hear it. And you see it on social media all the time, too. But people play Fantasy Football and Fantasy Basketball as well and it’s like, ‘I need you to get four 3s tonight … I need you to get six assists.’ Whatever. I mean, I don’t care about that stuff.”
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