“When I Lost Basketball, I Lost Myself”| Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Who Made Over $33M In NBA Career, Sentenced to 40 Months In Prison For Defrauding Players’ Benefits Plan

Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who helped the Boston Celtics win their last championship in 2008, was sentenced by a federal judge Thursday to 40 months in prison, plus three years’ supervised release, for his November 2023 conviction in an alleged scheme to defraud the NBA Players’ Health and Benefit Welfare Plan.

Davis was facing 20 years in prison, so, looking on the bright side, 3.5 years isn’t that bad.

More than a dozen former NBA players were charged in the multimillion-dollar fraud scheme discovered in 2021. They include: Tony Allen, Shannon Brown, Alan Anderson, Will Bynum, Christopher Douglas-Roberts, Melvin Ely, Jamario Moon, Darius Miles, Milton Palacio, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Sebastian Telfair, Charles Watson Jr., Terrence Williams, Antoine Wright and Anthony Wroten.

Former NBA Champion Glen Big Baby Davis (L) was sentenced to 40 months in prison for defrauding NBA Player’s Health Benefits. Tony Allen (R) pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Williams and Kenyon Dooling have already received prison sentences. 

At Least 18 Former Players Involved

The original indictment accused at least 18 former players of defrauding $4 million from the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan, which provides additional coverage to eligible active and retired players.

These players were in essence stealing from their teammates and other players in the league. Making matters worse, the 18 players earned a combined $360 million over their playing careers.

According to reports, Davis submitted a total of $132,000 worth of claims, including saying he got $27,200 worth of dental work at a Beverly Hills dental office on October 2, 2018. However, authorities revealed that he was actually in Las Vegas at the time and flew to Paris that same day, using geolocation data from his cellphone to prove it.

Williams admitted to being the ringleader of the scheme and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2023. 

“While many of the more than 20 defendants convicted in this case were well-known NBA stars, their conduct was otherwise a typical fraudulent scheme designed to defraud the NBA’s health care plan and net the defendants over $5 million in illicit profits,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Wednesday.

Davis, 38, who has maintained his innocence since indictments in the case were handed down in Oct. 2021 was found guilty of multiple fraud charges and conspiring to make false statements. He was ordered to pay $80,000 in restitution. The conditions of his supervised release include attending a financial management class and receiving mandatory drug treatment.

“Today’s conviction exemplifies that despite notoriety or success in sports or any other field, no one is exempt from criminal charges if they engage in fraud.”

But aside from Williams, no former NBA player has received more prison time than Davis. Last month, former NBA guard Will Bynum was sentenced to 18 months, in part for lying to a jury while under oath.

Glen Davis Made Over $33,175,000 During NBA Career 

Big Baby made over $33,000,000 in his NBA career. He played from 2007-2015 with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and La Clippers, winning a championship with Boston in 2008. 

At his sentencing Davis explained how he was a victim of post-career confusion, the financial pitfalls and instability that many athletes encounter after their playing careers.  

“When I lost basketball, I lost myself,” he pleaded to Judge Valerie E. Caproni before the sentence was handed down. “I ask you, your honor, to help me get back to who I am.”

Davis’ defense attorney, Sabrina Shroff, declined comment. The press office of the Southern District of New York also declined comment.

In court, assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Finkel characterized Davis as having allegedly executed a “sophisticated and intelligent effort” to mask his misdeeds.

No one showed up in court for Davis, which his lawyer noted while fighting through tears, but he did receive pre-sentencing support on his behalf from family, former coaches and multiple NBA player’s union officials, including NBPA general counsel Ron Klempner and executive director Andre Iguodala.

“On behalf of all of our NBPA members past and present, I respectfully ask that you consider Glen’s accomplishments and the positive impact he has had on those around him when determining his sentence,” Iguodala said in a statement. “I recognize the seriousness of this legal matter and appreciate the thoroughness of the judicial process and ask for leniency with these factors in mind.”

NBA Players Aren’t Unique When It Comes To Fraud

NBA players aren’t unique as it relates to fraud as the U.S. Attorney said.

In 2022, former NFL star Clinton Portis was a ringleader in a similar scheme to defraud a benefits fund for retired NFL veterans.

Other NFL players included: Joe Horn, Tamarick Vanover, Robert McCune, Carlos Rogers, Correll Buckhalter, James Butler, Ceandris Brown, John Eubanks, Antwan Odom, Etric Pruitt, Darrell Reid, Anthony Montgomery, Frederick Bennett, and the late Reche Caldwell.

The former NFL players filed false reimbursement claims totaling about $2.9 million.

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