Jordan thought his professional basketball career was over when, in 2019, a global surveillance of the betting market revealed he had placed bets on his own team’s victory.
He was handed a temporary suspension from representing Great Britain, a conditional suspension on league games and a fine.
Our dedicated Prevention of Competition Manipulation resources can help you avoid making the same mistakes as Jordan.
I first picked up a basketball when I was 11 years old, and by 14 I realised I could turn my passion into a professional career. When I earned a scholarship to play college basketball in the USA and I felt like I’d made it. The support from the community there was amazing – there would be 3,000 to 4,000 people watching college games – and I was excited to put my family and Milton Keynes, my hometown, on the map.
After five years in the USA, I returned home and realised another dream – to play for the club I supported throughout my childhood, the London Lions. But everything almost came crashing down when I turned to betting to fill a void.
Digging myself a hole
I was earning pretty good money as a basketball player – more money that I’d ever earned – and I was naïve. I wasn’t clued up on what was okay and what wasn’t as an athlete. My friends would talk about gambling in group chats, at first just a couple of bets here and there, and I had so much spare time to fill, so I started to fill that spare time with betting. As an athlete, I also had this winning attitude. That’s where I started to dig a hole for myself.
It was the winning and losing that really messed with me. If I lost a bet, I felt like I was chasing something; if I won, I was given this false idea of how betting could be a great way to earn more money. It really sucked me in.
It got to a point where I was constantly chasing a win and trying to fill that hole, which I just couldn’t do. Mentally, it really affected me – my performance on the court, my relationships with my friends and family. It was a tough time.
I wasn’t clued up on what was okay and what wasn’t as an athlete.
When I started to bet on my own team’s victory, I thought that was a safe option. I thought that way I had control over what I was doing – but it backfired.
Fearing the worst
When I started to bet on my own team’s victory, I thought that was a safe option. I thought that way I had control over what I was doing – but it backfired. I later found out that it didn’t matter that it was my own team; I was breaking the rules.
In 2019, a global surveillance of the betting market revealed those bets, and when I received the letter with my sanction on it I thought my career was over. I’d heard stories about what can happen in terms of bans from sport and I feared the worst.
By this point, my friends and family already knew what had been going on. I’d opened up to them a couple of months before receiving the letter, and it was tough for them too. My parents have been a huge support to me throughout my career – watching me play every weekend all around the country since I was young – and I thought it was all over.
Choosing a better path
I learned my lesson the hard way – and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes. Betting is designed for you to lose, not to win, and it only takes one bet for you to never look at your sport in the same way again.
My experience has taught me to encourage you to never bet on your game – it could end up costing you so much more than you ever expected.