Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker is facing criminal charges for failing to pay his gambling debts.
Walker, who has played for the Celtics and Timberwolves while winning a championship with the Heat in 2006, was out of basketball last season.
According to reports, Walker had run up $882,500 in gambling debts at three different Las Vegas casinos. He is facing three felony counts for writing bad checks to Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, and the Red Rock Resort to cover those losses.
This isn't the first time Walker's been in the hole due to gambling losses—the Las Vegas Sun reported that Walker had recently paid back $178,000 in gambling losses incurred between July 2008 and Janurary 2009.
Combine the totals, and Walker lost over $1 million in a year. To some, that may seem to indicate a gambling problem—though Charles Barkley would claim that it's not a problem if you can afford to lose (it should be remembered that Sir Charles himself faced similar charges for failing to pay his gambling losses).
The question instantly arises: did Walker gamble while in the NBA? And if he was gambling then, could he have been gambling on basketball games?
The slippery slope leading to the thought of shaving points or game fixing continues from there.
It can make one wonder.
As an interesting side note to this story, Sports Illustrated had the story of Walker's troubles on their home page, but NBA partner ESPN did not have the story as one of their headlines at any point in time. To read it, one had to search "Antoine Walker" for the article to appear. Without knowing the trouble Walker is now in, what reader would search his name?