After telling the Washington Post two weeks ago that he never bet on a game that he broadcasted, legendary sports announcer Brent Musburger revealed to the Chicago Tribune this week that indeed he did bet on one game back in the ’80s.
The man who coined “you’re watching it live” during his storied career covering the biggest games of a generation, admitted that he bet on a Lakers-Trail Blazer contest.
Musburger revealed to Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein:
One time. A long time ago I was doing an NBA game. It was in Portland in the ’80s. Lakers-Trail Blazers and the director was legendary Tony Verna, who started instant replay in the (1963) Army-Navy game. I took the Lakers (plus) three points. The bet was dinner for the production team, which I suppose would have been 300 bucks. The Blazers were up by 4, well inside of one minute. Shot clock. The Lakers came across (half court) and a kid by the name of Kurt Rambis jacked up this outrageous shot, and I was all over him! So I paid off the bet, bought the dinner and said to myself: ‘You know, that was not good. That was just not good. You do not want the spread to influence how you are announcing a game.’ I always knew what the number was on every game I did. I told (former ABC executive) Dennis Swanson: I’m not going to bet on games I broadcast. I’ll bet on other games.
After learning that lesson, let me apologize to Rambis. I should not have done that. ‘He could have pounded it inside and I could have had a backdoor cover!’ (laughs)
In the Washington Post story, Musburger told of his penchant for gambling that he developed while co-hosting “The NFL Today” with Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. The former sports odds-maker introduced the young sportscaster to many of his gambling associates. The Post reported, “he admired their expertise and insight, and the risk and stakes thrilled him. He started placing his own bets through friends in Vegas, $50 or $100 at a time, maybe up to $500.
“But not on the games I was doing,” Musburger said. “Everybody thought so.”
Musburger left ESPN at the beginning of the year to host “My Guys in the Desert,” a daily two-hour show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network. The show revolves around Musburger talking with bookmakers and gamblers, who according to the Post, “most of them old friends.”