Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ childhood friend who became his longtime manager and business partner, admitted in a 2021 federal investigation that he placed bets on NBA games with illegal bookmakers tens of thousands of dollars, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The investigation is part of an investigation into Wayne Nix, who was convicted of multiple crimes for running an offshore sports betting ring, The Washington Post recalled. The Washington Post reached out to James and Carter for a statement and received responses:
“In 2021, before 38 states and the District of Columbia legalized sports betting, Maverick Carter was interviewed once by federal law enforcement in connection with the Wayne Knicks investigation,” spokesman Adam Mendel Adam Mendelsohn said in a statement. “Mr. Carter was not a target of the investigation, he was cooperative, was never charged, and was never contacted again regarding this matter.”
He declined to answer questions about James, saying Carter’s bet had “nothing to do with him.” In interviews with law enforcement, Carter denied placing bets for others.
Carter told investigators he placed about 20 bets on football and basketball games, placing bets between $5,000 and $10,000 per game. He also said he knew Nicks and they had hung out together in Las Vegas, but not outside the city. Carter is not the only NBA player caught up in the investigation, as Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen also admitted to making a bet with the Knicks.
Carter is neither a player’s agent nor an NBA team employing him in any capacity. While his bet may have been illegal, it did not violate any NBA charter or rules because he was not employed by the league or the team.
However, Carter has a close relationship with LeBron James, and for 21 years he has been one of the faces — often this LeBron is the face of the NBA and has avoided any scandalous controversy throughout. There is no evidence that LeBron knew about these bets, let alone had any influence on them. However, the idea of Carter using “inside” information gleaned from conversations with LeBron to make these bets isn’t a huge leap of faith. The big question is, is Carter betting on games LeBron plays? That’s not yet known, and there is no public list of Carter’s bets.
The NBA has avoided the player gambling scandals that have plagued the NFL, PGA and MLB, although that may have more to do with luck than a lack of players placing bets. However, Carter’s situation is different – he is not a player or a person who can affect the outcome of the game. Still, it casts a cloud over LeBron, who will be asking questions about the situation in the coming days.