By Henry Abbott
On Atlanta's 790 the Zone this morning, Atlanta Hawk Al Horford was asked about his playoff battle with the Celtics' Paul Pierce in 2008.
The hosts asked Horford, who was on the show with teammate Marvin Williams, if he ever got the chance to clear the air with Pierce after the game.
"I never talked to him," says Horford, "but I know he owes me money. Marvin was a witness. He was telling me they were going to sweep us and all this. We bet. And I never got anything."
Asked how much he's owed, Horford says "ten thousand" and then explains that bet was that the Hawks would not get swept.
Bret LaGree of Hoopinion, who typed up the whole exchange (originally spotted on Peachtree Hoops), says that Williams is a paragon of honesty, and it means something that he immediately seconds Horford's version of events by saying "true story."
I suspect few people care about players, in the heat of the battle, saying in no uncertain terms that they believe in their teams.
But anyone who has ever heard the name "Pete Rose" knows that people get weirded out by the idea of players betting on games they play in, and not without reason. As much as $10k here or there to go with a win might be fun and harmless, there's danger in players looking to profit from gambling -- because the real money in that game is in betting that your team will lose, and then helping them do so, and nobody is OK with that. That's far from what happened here, but the NBA has to draw the line somewhere.