FBI: Knicks fixed games in 1980s to pay off drug dealer

Michael Ray Richardson had a widely known drug problem in the 1980s, but he claims he didn't do anything illegal on the court. Credit: Getty Images
Michael Ray Richardson had a widely known drug problem in the 1980s, but he claims he didn’t do anything illegal on the court.
Credit: Getty Images

Cocaine, bookies, point shaving and game fixing: It’s the quadruple-double of NBA scandals!

A new book by Brian Touhy called “Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI” alleges all of those things were going on with the New York Knicks in the early 1980s. Touhy got a hold of documents from the FBI which were investigating the Knicks at that time and the documents don’t paint a pretty picture for the NBA.

An FBI informant said three members of the Knicks were shaving points and then outright fixing games for their drug dealer in March 1982. Reportedly the dealer was a heavy gambler, but would usually place $300 on games. All of a sudden he was putting down $10,000 bets on Knicks games — and winning.

The FBI documents show the dealer won six of his seven bets on the Knicks. And the FBI has confirmed the documents are legitimate, according to the New York Post. The documents also claim the Knicks began betting against themselves at the end of the 1981-82 season, when the team lost eight of their final nine games.

It’s no secret the Knicks were dealing with drug issues in the 1980s. Heck, all of the sports world was dealing with cocaine issues in the 1980s. From the death of Len Bias in 1986 to the drug problems of Giants great Lawrence Taylor to the widely acknowledged use by Mets stars Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, cocaine was all over the place.

And maybe no athlete in the 1980s exemplified that issue more than Michael Ray Richardson, a star guard for the Knicks from 1978 to 1982. He was an All Star every year from 1980 to 1982.

Richardson failed three drug tests and was thrown out of the league in 1986 while he was playing for the Nets. He was later reinstated — and then failed two more drug tests for cocaine in 1991.

No player, including Richardson, is named in the FBI documents or Touhy’s book, but it’s not exactly a hard leap to make to Richardson being involved. Richardson denied any involvement in a quote to the Post, saying, “Hell no, we never did anything like that.”

No one was ever charged in the scandal due to a lack of evidence, according to Touhy.

Maybe that’s because Richardson was always a chucker. It’s hard to figure out if someone is intentionally missing shots when every box score reads 6-for-16 or 7-for-19.


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