Maverick Carter, the manager for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, and a business partner of his, told federal agents in 2021 that he had bet on NBA games through an illegal bookmaker, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
In his admission in November 2021, Carter told federal agents that he "could not remember placing any bets on the Lakers" and denied placing bets for others, according to a report summarizing the interview that was reviewed by the Post.
"In 2021 and before 38 states and the District of Columbia legalized sports betting, Maverick Carter was interviewed a single time by federal law enforcement regarding their investigation into Wayne Nix," Adam Mendelsohn, a spokesperson for Carter and James, said in a statement to the Post. "Mr. Carter was not the target of the investigation, cooperated, was never charged, and never contacted again on the matter."
According to the report reviewed by the Post, Carter said he placed approximately 20 bets on football and basketball games over the course of a year, with each bet ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.
The NBA prohibits players, team officials and league officials from betting on league games, and the National Basketball Players Association also includes agents in its rule, but business managers are not included by either group.
Nix, a former minor league baseball player, pleaded guilty in April 2022 to conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business and filing a false tax return. Prosecutors said Nix's operation ran for two decades and included current and former professional athletes as clients or employees, including Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, according to the Post, and former MLB outfielder Yasiel Puig, who changed his plea to not guilty for a federal charge of lying to law enforcement officials about sports bets he made with an illegal gambling operator.
Puig's trial is scheduled for January.
"Maverick's his own man and at the end of the day, gambling is legal," James said. "I mean, you can go on your phone right now and do whatever you want. And he has no affiliation with the NBA or NFL, so, he can do what he wants to do."
ESPN's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.