Now that he’s out of traditional broadcasting and working on a Vegas sports gambling show, former CBS and ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger has finally let his guard down and admitted he once bet on a game he called.
Musburger gambled on a Lakers-Trail Blazers game back in the 1980s. He claims that although he’s bet on many other games throughout his life, that was the only time he gambled on a game he broadcasted as he quickly learned his lesson when the outcome came down to the final shot.
Here’s how Musburger told it to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:
One time. A long time ago I was doing an NBA game. It was in Portland in the ’80s. Lakers-Trail Blazers and the director was legendary Tony Verna, who started instant replay in the (1963) Army-Navy game. I took the Lakers (plus) three points. The bet was dinner for the production team, which I suppose would have been 300 bucks. The Blazers were up by 4, well inside of one minute. Shot clock. The Lakers came across (half court) and a kid by the name of Kurt Rambis jacked up this outrageous shot, and I was all over him! So I paid off the bet, bought the dinner and said to myself: ‘You know, that was not good. That was just not good. You do not want the spread to influence how you are announcing a game.’ I always knew what the number was on every game I did. I told (former ABC executive) Dennis Swanson: I’m not going to bet on games I broadcast. I’ll bet on other games.
After learning that lesson, let me apologize to Rambis. I should not have done that. ‘He could have pounded it inside and I could have had a backdoor cover!’ (laughs)
In the Q&A, Musburger also talks about his classic call on a backdoor cover between Ohio State and Northwestern, when the Wildcats flubbed a hook and ladder attempt from their own eight yard line and the Buckeyes recovered it in the end zone on the final play of the game.
Based on the Tribune interview, it seems the Blazers-Lakers game is the only big secret Musburger was hiding. But considering just last week he told the Washington Post he’d never gambled on a game he broadcasted, maybe some more secrets will come out over time.