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Chief Justice." The entire courtroom seemed to squirm in their seats, and there were a few hushed, but audible gasps, as if underdog New Jersey had just scored the decisive blow. Four months later, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey, 6-3, handing the NCAA and major professional sports leagues a jarring defeat on an issue that for decades they had decried as their mortal enemy -- sports betting. In 2012 deposition testimony, Goodell said gambling was the No. 1 threat to the integrity of the game. Then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig said sports betting was "evil," and the NHL's Gary Bettman and NCAA president Mark Emmert echoed those sentiments in an effort to stop New Jersey. At that point, the leagues' opposition to legalizing sports betting appeared united and unwavering, but, behind the scenes, the NBA was plotting change. In 2006, then-NBA deputy commission Adam Silver began to question if forcing the bulk of the billions of dollars wagered on sports in the U.S. into a black market was the most pragmatic approach. He witnessed in person how jurisdictions in Europe and Asia dealt with sports betting and started to listen to pitches from international gaming companies. NBA referee Tim Donaghy pled guilty to gambling allegations. Thoughts of pivoting the NBA's position were halted in 2007 when the Tim Donaghy scandal was revealed. For gambling, this was as ugly as it gets: a referee convicted of providing information to gamblers and admitting to betting on basketball himself, including games he officiated.
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