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Michael Porter Jr. speaks after brother’s sentencing, Jontay Porter ban

Vaseline 2 months ago

After helping his Denver Nuggets defeat the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, Michael Porter Jr. expressed gratitude to his teammates for showing him support.

Porter missed practice Friday to attend a sentencing hearing in Denver for one of his younger brothers. Coban Porter received a term of six years in prison for a 2023 drunk-driving crash that killed a woman and seriously injured a man.

The hearing took place two days after the NBA handed a lifetime ban to another of the Nuggets forward’s younger brothers, Jontay Porter, for violating the league’s policies on gambling and for betting on games. Amid the difficult week, Porter took the court and notched 19 points and eight rebounds as Denver began the defense of its NBA crown with a 114-103 win over Los Angeles.

“I definitely tried to compartmentalize. Some bad and sad stuff happened to a couple of my brothers,” Porter, 25, said after the game of his performance. “But I’ve got 15, 16 more brothers in here. So I knew I had to be here for them, come in here and do my job and try to prepare to do it at a high level.”

“For his mind-set to be where it is, I applaud him,” Denver’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said of Porter. “As a brother, we’re going to keep him straight.”

During the hearing, Porter was among several attendees who spoke in support of his brother or of the woman who was killed, 42-year-old Katharina Rothman. She was working as an Uber driver for a 47-year-old man who was injured in an early-morning crash prosecutors said occurred after Coban Porter ran a red light. The University of Denver basketball player, who was 21 at the time of the crash, was said to have been found with a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Coban Porter agreed in February to a deal with the Denver District Attorney’s Office in which he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide-DUI and vehicular assault-DUI. He could have received an eight-year sentence Friday, but the presiding judge ordered that the two-year term for the assault count run concurrently with a six-year term for the more serious offense.

“I understand your family’s pain and hurt,” Michael Porter Jr. told members of Rothman’s family Friday (via the Denver Post). He said that when he first heard from a police officer that his younger brother had been involved in a fatal accident, it wasn’t initially clear to him if Coban Porter “was the one who died or if it was someone else.”

“When he didn’t specify what it was, I felt that,” Michael Porter Jr. said at the hearing. “I know that if I were in your shoes and it was reversed, I would have a lot of feelings as well.”

Porter, a former Gatorade National Player of the Year who spent one season at Missouri before the Nuggets selected him 14th overall in the 2018 draft, also credited his younger brother with motivating him to excel as an athlete.

“I truly don’t think I’d be in the position I am today as a professional basketball player without a brother like Coban pushing me every day,” Michael Porter Jr. said at the sentencing hearing. “He would get up earlier than me, work out harder than me. I know it’s not often that a big brother looks up to a younger brother, but that’s how it was for me.”

After the NBA announced in March it was looking into allegations of unusual betting activity related to Jontay Porter, Michael Porter Jr. said the then-Toronto Raptors center “loves the game of basketball.”

“I’ve known my brother my whole life,” he said at the time to reporters about Jontay Porter. “I know what type of dude he is, and I know he’s excited to play basketball and I highly doubt he would do anything to put that in jeopardy.”

The NBA said Wednesday it found that Jontay Porter, 24, disclosed “confidential information to sports bettors, limit(ed) his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and (bet) on NBA games.”

Michael Porter Jr. said after Saturday’s game that “a lot of people have been reaching out” to him, including each of his teammates in text messages. He said his fellow Nuggets “just told me they’ve got my back — if I need anything, they’ve got me.”

After emerging several years ago as a key member of Nikola Jokic’s supporting cast in Denver, Porter played in a career-high 81 games this season. Plagued by back issues, including multiple surgeries, going back to his stint at Missouri, he missed his entire rookie season with Denver and much of the 2021-22 campaign as well. When on the court, he has averaged 15.7 points for his career while shooting at a 41 percent clip from three-point range.

“That’s why basketball is such a beautiful game, that you don’t think about nothing except what’s going on on the floor,” Jokic said of Porter Saturday at a postgame news conference. “Before and after, of course, the stuff hits you. But I think we all reached out to him and of course, family is the first thing, but we are some kind of family, too. So hopefully he’s going to find peace, and he’s going to be in a good spot, mentally.”

“We’re human, so we carry our emotions and the things that go on off of the court, on to the court,” Porter said Saturday of his ability to play effectively at the end of a taxing week. “But I’m mentally tough. I’ve been through a lot throughout my entire career. It was just another one of those things that I had to try to play through.”