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The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball


The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The true story of Jack Molinas is one of the legends of basketball. Several prominent sportswriters have previously attempted to tell it, but until now none have succeeded. Among the most talented and brainiest to ever play the game of basketball, Molinas is also credited, by some, with having single-handedly corrupted it.Jack Molinas was already a certified NBA All-Star who could score whenever he wanted to by the time he was a rookie with the Fort Wayne Pistons. Moreover, he was an Ivy League graduate with a genius-level 175 I.Q. Rich, handsome, young, sweet, charismatic, Molinas was irresistible to women. But he also had a flair for larceny-he'd much rather swindle two bits from somebody than earn an honest dollar. Throughout his illustrious career, from Stuyvesant High School, to Columbia University, and then in the NBA, Molinas had conspired to fix the outcomes of more than half of the games he played and had led dozens of other players to do the same. Jack Molinas's real game was power-taming the unknown, manipulating people, odds and possibilities, making the future dance to his own secret music, gambling and winning. "Don't worry," was his motto.In The Wizard of Odds, renowned and best-selling basketball writer Charley Rosen brings us for the first time the full life story of Jack Molinas, one of the greatest basketball players of his era, a man whose gambling addiction and hubris caused his ultimate demise. Drawing on numerous, previously unavailable first-person accounts, including Jack Molinas's own journal, and trial transcripts, Rosen presents the saga of a man who perhaps better than anyone around him understood the weaknesses of the system in which he lived-so much so that he convinced himself that he could manipulate that system to his advantage with total impunity.By the time Molinas was arrested, on January 9, 1954, for conspiring to fix NBA games, he was already deeply involved with the Mafia. Banned from playing in the NBA, he pursued a law degree, then turned back to illegal gambling, forming a large-scale bookmaking operation that was financed by members of the five Mafia families of New York. He was arrested again, and on February 11, 1963, he was sentenced to 10 to 15 years for bribery and conspiracy.After his parole in 1968, Jack picked up right where he left off. Before long, thanks to the generosity of a gracious Mafia (Molinas never ratted anyone out), Molinas was co-founder of a thriving pornographic film production company and he was doing some legal work; he was playing basketball on the LA playgrounds with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor; and he was dating a 19-year-old porn star.But things fell apart rather quickly, and in the early morning hours of August 4, 1975, Jack Molinas was shot in the head and killed on his patio, a dark testament to the terrible human power of self-destructiveness.

Read an excerpt.

About the Author

Charley Rosen, the coauthor with Phil Jackson of Maverick (1975) and More Than a Game (2001), is a past player and coach of several Continental Basketball Association (CBA) teams and a noted sportswriter and novelist. Rosen is currently the chief NBA columnist for

Product Details

Seven Stories Press
Biography & Autobiography : General
Rosen, Charley
Sports & Recreation : General
Fiction : Sports
Biography & Autobiography : Sports - General
Biography & Autobiography : Criminals & Outlaws
Games : Gambling - Sports
Publication Date:
July 2003

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Sports
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » Gambling » Sports
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Basketball » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Sports General

The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball
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Product details 432 pages Seven Stories Press - English 9781609800598 Reviews:
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