Jacob "Jack" L. Molinas (October 31, 1931-August 3, 1975) was an American basketball player from Bronx, New York, and one of the key figures in the point-shaving scandal that almost destroyed NCAA basketball.
Molinas attended Stuyvesant High School, leading them to the Public League championship game. Stuyvesant lost to Abraham Lincoln, 41-40, after Molinas badly missed a free throw. He later claimed that he threw the game for $800.
He led Columbia University to some of its best seasons in history, graduating in 1953. He bragged that he manipulated game results, while betting on outcomes and playing for Columbia.
In 1954 The Fort Wayne Pistons drafted Molinas in the first round--the #4 pick. He played briefly for them in the NBA, playing in 29 games and averaging 12.1 ppg, second on the team. He was banned for life from the NBA after admitting to betting on Pistons games.
He then played in the Eastern League, where he was League MVP in 1956. Today his 4,778 points put him at #29 in the CBA career points list.
Molinas was said to have conspired with New York City mobster Thomas Eboli. Molinas was convicted of his role in the point-shaving scandal and sentenced to 10-15 years. He served five, most of them in Attica. He is reputed to be the inspiration for the Paul Crewe, the jailed pro quarterback in the films The Longest Yard, portrayed by Burt Reynolds (1974) and Adam Sandler (2005).
Molinas boasted that he had fixed numerous high school and college games while he was a player and after. He befriended many New York City basketball players. One of the great New York players of the era, Connie Hawkins, was banned by the NCAA and the NBA (for several years) because he had been seen riding in Molinas's car with Roger Brown. (Hawkins was never accused of participating in any illegal activities.)
His reported numbers (1957-61):
- 27 college teams under his influence, including St. John's and Alabama;
- 43 college games rigged;
- 37 players arrested, many others implicated.
After retiring from basketball, Molinas moved to Los Angeles. In 1974, when business partner Bernard Gusoff was beaten to death, Molinas collected a $500,000 life insurance policy. Molinas was shot in the back of the head in 1975. The crime remains unsolved.
In 2001 Charley Rosen published his well-researched biography of Molinas, The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball.