If you’ve ever played Blackjack in Vegas, you see those guys who trip over to your table, half-drunk. They throw down one bet, for $500, $1000, sometimes more. They might win one bet, but inevitably they lose. Apparently the NBA has plenty of those types on charter flights during road trips.
“I’ve heard guys who have lost $30,000 on an hour plane trip,” Charlotte guard Derek Anderson, the former Heat reserve, says. “It’s amazing — $30,000 in an hour.
Ira Winderman of the MIAMI HERALD has details on just how much some players have lost on charter flights, and how little coaches and teams seem to care.
“You get a guy who likes to gamble,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, the former Heat coach, says, “he can get on a plane and lose $10,000 and it’s not a problem.”
“The stakes aren’t important,” Van Gundy says, “as long as everybody’s losing what they can afford to lose.”
Needless to say, NBA players can afford to lose more than most of us (they make, on average, $66K per game!). And after reading that Tyrone Hill once lost $108,000 to Charles Oakley on a single flight, you start to wonder if that sort of *competition* is good for team chemistry.
The NBA though will not get involved, as Winderman notes,
Or as one NBA executive observed, “Athletes have been playing private card games on planes and trains for a hundred years, back to Babe Ruth. It wouldn’t exactly make sense for us to get involved now.”
We love to gamble as much as the next guy, but why do we have a feeling that some day this could indeed become a bigger issue?
It’s also rather ironic that David Stern & Co. is so adamant about not placing a team in Vegas unless NBA betting is taken out of sportsbooks.
A little hypocritical, eh?