Are you a basketball or poker fan? Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about San Antonio Spurs legend Tony Parker’s upcoming WSOP debut.
It is rare for a sporting legend to not only dabble in but excel at several sports concurrently on a professional level. But that is exactly what San Antonio Spurs legend and basketball superstar, Tony Parker, has done. As a self-confessed poker fan, he has qualified for this year’s World Series of Poker tournament and is gearing up for his professional debut as the event kicks off at the end of the month. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the somewhat uncommon pairing.
A basketball master
Tony Parker launched his professional career in the late 1990s with Paris Basket Racing and enjoyed a successful career throughout the 2000s. During a particularly fruitful match between the American and European All-Stars, he recorded 20 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals. This ended up prompting a recruitment war between a number of notable colleges including UCLA and Georgia Tech before he eventually decided to stay in Paris for the foreseeable future. His 18-year professional career with the San Antonio Spurs, however, was where his basketball playing career really took off. In 2014, for example, he tied with Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan for the most wins in playoffs history by a trio of players playing together. During the 2014 NBA Finals, he also won his fourth and fifth championship with the San Antonio Spurs and cemented his position as one of the most successful basketball players of his generation.
A passion for poker
During his professional basketball playing career, Tony Parker sharpened his poker playing skills between minor and major matches. In recent years and following his retirement in 2019, he has dedicated more time to the game and has competed in a number of charity poker events in recent years. With the news of this year’s World Series of Poker Online coming to a triumphant close on GGPoker, he is, no doubt, gearing up for his in-person debut as the live version of the tournament kicks off on September 30th. For example, the four-time NBA champion won a charity poker event run by the PM Group in January of this year. As a result of his historic win, he earned his place in the $10,000 buy-in event set to take place later this year alongside a number of big names in the industry.
A flourishing career
With his professional basketball career behind him, Tony Parker has the potential for a flourishing career as an up-and-coming star in the poker industry. With a number of similarities between the two sports, it is a natural progression for the San Antonio Spurs legend. This is one of the main reasons why the NBA, and professional sporting circles in general, are rife with poker enthusiasts on an amateur as well as a professional level. For example, minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, Chamath Palihapitiya, has been known to participate in high-stake cash games with three cashes in World Series of Poker events so far. He has also been spotted with 15-time World Series of Poker winner Phil Hellmuth. In addition, Hellmuth has, in the past, coached 12-year NBA veteran, David Lee, for a number of years and helped him up his game.
With a prosperous career in professional basketball now behind him, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs has been selected as the first confirmed player to participate in the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event. With a number of similarities between the two sports, however, this news comes as no surprise to basketball and poker fans alike.