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Illustration: Image: New York Daily News Archive/Getty; Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In Silicon Valley, Paul Martino is known as a serial entrepreneur who later founded Bullpen Capital to invest in such startups as FanDuel, Ipsy, and SpotHero.

The other side: In Hollywood, he's the guy making a movie about his cousin Tommy, who served time for his key role in the NBA's game-fixing scandal.

"When Tommy got out of jail he got offered a really bad life rights deal and I told him he shouldn't sign it. But he needed money, so as a favor, I bought them," Paul Martino tells me. "Then it became kind of an intellectual challenge of trying to do something I'd never done before. I went on Amazon and filled my cart with three books about how to make a movie."

  • The result is Inside Game, which hits over 150 theaters nationwide in November. Trailer here.

What's next: Expect a major media blitz to begin late this month, including appearances by the real-life Tommy Martino (played in the film by Scott Wolf) and disgraced referee Tim Donaghy (played by Eric Mabius).

"It's the startup rule about how you need a lucky break no matter how smart or qualified you are. Mine was at my 15th high school reunion, when I met a friend's husband who was a Hollywood screenwriter. He told me his team had beaten Kobe Bryant's team twice in high school, and wanted to write it."
— Paul Martino

But, but, but: Martino was on the board of FanDuel. The NBA also was an early investor, with the league's general counsel serving as its original board observer.

  • Martino resigned from the FanDuel board once Inside Game went into production, believing that the dual-roles could bring unwanted scrutiny to the company, which already was under all sorts of media pressure.

"I don't think there's a pure cause and effect between the NBA scandal and sports betting startups, but it's in the same pond... Once [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver came out publicly in support of legalization, you'll remember he said they'd also want integrity fees. That was so there wouldn't be another Tim Donaghy."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

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