Four years ago, Jimmy Batista and former NBA referee Tim Donaghy were convicted of illegal gambling and conspiracy. Batista headed up the operation, and his conversations with author Sean Patrick Griffin are candid and revealing. Billl Littlefield talks to Griffin about his new book that explores Batista’s antics, and looks into how the men who were involved in this scandal were able to game an entire industry of owners, players and fans.

Bill’s Thoughts On Gaming The Game:

Sean Patrick Griffin’s Gaming The Game presents a collection of professional gamblers, Jimmy “Baba” Battista foremost among them, and the former NBA referee, Tim Donaghy, with whom those gamblers did business.

Four years ago, the schemes in which those gentlemen were involved fell apart, and eventually everybody went to jail for a while. The specifics of those developments may surprise people who assume that justice is swift and sure; especially when they read about the FBI agent who made a bundle after “Baba” Battista helped the agent pick players for his fantasy football team.

While not many of Griffin’s readers will be surprised to learn that a lot of people bet a lot of money on sports, readers will gain new insight into how hard the professionals in that field work at their trade. Tim Donaghy was a valuable resource for Battista and others, but not the only one. Battista was regularly in touch with people who owed him money, and obliged his customers to give him information on every imaginable factor that could tilt the gambling line on a game. Battista was delighted to have the relatively sure bets with which Donaghy provided him, but for the most part he had to work with any tiny edge he could find. It’s apparently hard and uncertain work, this professional sports gambling, unless of course you have a referee on your side.

One of Sean Griffin’s conclusions is that the NBA’s investigation of the involvement of one of their officials with professional gamblers was slipshod at best. The author points out all sorts of ways in which Commissioner Stern could have more diligently explored what Tim Donaghy did, but he does not suggest that Donaghy was representative in his habits or his associations.