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Report: Knicks shaved points in 1980s

The SportsXchange

A new book and recently released FBI files from the 1980s put the spotlight on sports and betting.

"Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI" focuses on the 1981-1982 New York Knicks and alleges that a handful of players used cocaine and shaved points as a favor to their cocaine dealer -- one of the largest dealers on the East Coast.

The author of the book told the New York Daily News that he has more than 400 FBI documents that detail rampant game-fixing, not only in the NBA, but in the NFL and Major League Baseball, too.

"The FBI had info that two to three members of (the) Knicks were shaving for a coke dealer," Brian Touhy told The Daily News. "And that informants believed that the players were betting on the games themselves -- betting on the Knicks to lose."

Players' names were not released; they were redacted from FBI documents. The alleged cocaine dealer's identity was not revealed, either.

The New York Post reported the dealer made regular bets of $300 per game, but then in January 1982 began wagering $10,000 against the Knicks.

"Over (redacted) the last two months, all three (players) have given (redacted) 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 reported.

The FBI documents reveal some apprehension by law enforcement that there was some actual fixing going on. But the more they investigated, the more proof there was that games' outcomes were being manipulated.

And there was some belief that the players started wagering on themselves -- to lose.

"Source now believes that the players are actively engaging in 'shaving points' and possibly even betting against themselves," the FBI said.

The Knicks finished last in the Atlantic Division that year. One player on that team, Micheal Ray Richardson, was banned for life from the NBA for violating the league's drug policy.

The Post contacted Richardson, now 58 and living in Texas, and asked the former Knicks guard about the book's allegations.

"Hell no!" Richardson responded. "We never did anything like that."

Current Knicks representatives would not comment.

The FBI investigation continued into 1986. The case was closed without any arrests reportedly because there was no physical evidence and investigators were unable to convince anyone to confess.

"I came to the conclusion that (the FBI) interviewed the drug dealer," Touhy told the Daily News, "and the dealer said, 'I don't know these guys,' denying the whole story. And the FBI said, OK, and dropped the whole thing."
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