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How Sam Bankman-Fried Sportswashed an $8 Billion Crypto Fraud
EPISODE 34: A theory about Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Michael Lewis, and a lot more.
Today’s story, in my opinion, is the most undercovered story in the world of sports.
Which is funny, because Sam Bankman-Fried and his crypto exchange, FTX, were very recently everywhere. All over cable news. All over game broadcasts (including the Super Bowl). All over the covers of Fortune (as “THE NEXT WARREN BUFFETT”) and Forbes (as the richest young person since Zuck).
In fact, Sam was personally endorsed by a roster of A-list athletes — most prominently, Tom Brady and Steph Curry — for record-shattering fees.
Which turned out to be a, uh, problem.
Because a couple weeks ago, in a courthouse here in downtown Manhattan, Sam was convicted of all seven counts of fraud and conspiracy brought against him by the federal government. Which means that the guy who was supposed to become the world’s first trillionaire could now face more than 100 years in prison.
It’s a fucking insane story. And after weeks of studying it — both making calls and inhaling the two books about it that just came out — I realized something that now seems crazily obvious: Sam Bankman-Fried is a sports story.
A sportswashing story, in specific — about how a foreign, largely unintelligible entity used America’s blind love of sports (and, most of all, Tom Brady) to launder his reputation and cover up his morally reprehensible behavior.
So! To pressure-test this premise, I sat down with the competing writers of both books: Michael Lewis (newly controversial author of Going Infinite) and Zeke Faux (of Number Go Up), both of whom spent quality personal time with Sam before and after the collapse of FTX. Plus Miami’s own Will Manso, who also interviewed Sam, but on camera, in public. And we get to the bottom of why sports was essential to one of the greatest frauds in American history.
As well as what Michael’s true responsibility for the rise of Sam Bankman-Fried might actually be.
DKN/YOUTUBE SPOILER ALERT:
Really loved constructing this episode. Really hope you enjoy watching/listening.