Shams Charania fraud allegations, explained

Hornets NBA Draft pick Brandon Miller. (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
Hornets NBA Draft pick Brandon Miller. (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

A tweet about the Charlotte Hornets possibly taking Scoot Henderson at No. 2 in the NBA Draft has landed NBA insider Shams Charania in hot water.

Shams Charania is one of the most trusted NBA reporters in the business. His name on a report carries legitimacy. And now it’s caused controversy.

Some on social media have called out Charania for a tweet leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft. Information Charania shared may have contributed to movement on a betting line. The problem? In addition to The Athletic, Charania works for gambling company FanDuel, which stood to benefit from that movement.

What are the allegations against Charania and what do they mean for everyone involved?

Shams Charania fraud allegations, explained

On Thursday morning, hours before the NBA Draft, Charania sent out a tweet citing sources about the Hornets seriously considering taking Scoot Henderson with the No. 2 overall pick instead of heavy favorite Brandon Miller.

“Sources: Scoot Henderson is gaining serious momentum at No. 2 with the Charlotte Hornets in tonight’s NBA draft. Hornets have been torn over the last week between Henderson and Brandon Miller. Team has final meetings today to settle on decision,” Charania tweeted.

Betting lines had been heavily leaning towards Miller being the pick for Charlotte. Some bettors, emboldened by Charania’s report, put money on Henderson instead.

The Wall Street Journal spoke to one such bettor who dropped a $500 bet on Henderson to the Hornets and encouraged others to do the same. They all lost out when the Hornets took Miller, as was originally expected.

Almost immediately, some on social media called out the connection between Charania and FanDuel, warning people against making bets based on the tweet.

The accusation boils down to this: Charania’s reporting carries weight in the basketball community. If FanDuel wanted to manipulate the money line, they could use Charania to do it. In this case, he could be compelled to send a tweet about uncertainty around the No. 2 pick to inspire bettors to put down more money, which would result in profit for FanDuel.

FanFuel released a statement on the subject, via Darren Rovel of Action Network: “FanDuel is not privy to any news that Shams breaks on his platforms.”

The relationship between a legitimate NBA reporter and a gambling company is certainly an issue. It muddies the waters about what can and can’t be trusted. It’s not hard to draw a line between a report and manipulation on the gambling front.

However, this also a serious allegation of fraud against Charania, who would have to make up the report in the manipulation scenario. There is no evidence to back up that claim.

As Joe Pompliano explained on Twitter, it would be a career-jeopardizing move for Charania to be complicit in such a scheme.

“Calling it ‘blatant fraud’ is a reach,” Pompliano tweeted. “Sports betting companies don’t make any money on drafts & it would be incredibly shortsighted for Shams to risk his entire reputation to move a single betting line for FanDuel. Not to mention Brandon Miller’s odds also shifted as a result.”

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