The New York Times

Moneyball

IF SPORTS BETTING IS LEGALIZED, COULD ITS HUNGER FOR ANALYTICS RESTORE AN OLDER, PURER VERSION OF FANDOM?

In the early 1990s, Bill Bradley, the New Jersey senator and former New York Knick, argued several times in front of Congress that legalizing sports betting would dehumanize athletes and lead to the rampant corruption of children. This was no cynical political crusade; Bradley was a true believer. He liked to declare that athletes were not “roulette chips” and tell the story of a game he once played in Madison Square Garden. His Knicks were up by 5 at the end when the other team hit a meaningless basket to cut the final lead to 3. A confused Bradley heard cheers in the crowd, and when someone told him why — the opponent had just lost by fewer points and beat the spread predicted by

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