Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff was recently asked about his feelings on legalized sports gambling and sports gambling in general, which is especially timely with the news regarding Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. Bickerstaff cautioned that the NBA and sports in general has allowed sports gambling to get too close to the sports, resulting in some off-putting and straight-up scary interactions for him both at Cavaliers games and digitally.

“I’ve personally had my own instances with some of the sports gamblers where they got my telephone number, were sending me crazy messages about where I live and my kids and all that stuff, so it is a dangerous game and a fine line that we’re walking for sure,” JB Bickerstaff said, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “It brings added pressure. It brings distraction to the game. It can be difficult for players, coaches, referees. Everybody that’s involved in it. And I think that we really have to be careful with how close we let it get to the game. And the security of the people who are involved in it, because again it does carry a weight. A lot of times people who are gambling, this money pays their light bill, it pays their rent and the emotions that come from that. So I do think we’re walking a very fine line and we have to be extremely careful in protecting everybody who is involved.”

Bickerstaff’s description paints a picture of what coaches and players deal with in regard to the legalization of sports betting in many states. The best that he, the Cavaliers and everyone involved in professional sports can do is ignore it.

Does JB Bickerstaff believe sports gambling has gone too far?

“There’s no doubt about it that it’s crossed the line,” Bickerstaff said, via Bondy. “The amount of times where I’m standing up there and we may have a 10-point lead and the spread is 11, and people are yelling at me to leave the guys in so that we can cover the spread, it’s ridiculous. But again, I understand the business side of it, the nature of the business side of it, but it is something that I believe has gone too far.”

Bickerstaff’s comments, along with the potential implications of the situation with the Dodgers, Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara make it an interesting discussion. There is certainly a financial benefit for sports leagues to embrace the legal sportsbooks. However, there are drawbacks for players, coaches, referees and even fans in many cases.

There seems to be no indication of any walking back of these endorsements from any of the leagues in the near future, but Bickerstaff’s comments certainly give light to some issues that should be noted.