Brooklyn Nets forward is setting his sights on poker post-NBA
From being a junior forward for the University of Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Team, Paul Pierce has come a long way to become one of the most successful and recognizable NBA stars in the world. During his 15 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Pierce achieved fame by becoming an NBA champion and finals MVP in 2008, as well as ten appearances in the NBA All-Star Games. While he’s still has a few good years left, it seems that the former Jayhawk is already making plans post-NBA. So don’t be surprised if Pierce will soon claim the title as a world poker champion.
Pierce, also known as “The Truth” on the hard court, is just one of the many NBA players who have professed their love for the popular card game. Poker has become the preferred pastime of many basketball stars; enjoying the card game with fellow players and friends while earning (or burning) some cash. Aside from Pierce, other notable basketball cum poker players include Brooklyn Nets teammate Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Tony Parker, Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion, as well as NBA legends Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Trent Tucker. A charity poker tournament is also held regularly during the NBA All-Star Weekend.
While many of the NBA’s poker aficionados only play for fun, Paul Pierce stands out for competing in elite-level tournaments. Since 2011, Pierce has been a fixture at high stakes Betfair events such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) – becoming the most high-profile celebrity to have competed in the Main Event. While he has yet to earn the coveted WSOP bracelet, he revealed in an interview with Card Player writer Brian Pempus that he remains to be drawn to the card game. “Poker really helps you use your brain, plan and implement some strategy,” Pierce said. “I have always been a competitive person, and this drive comes out in me at the poker table. I’ve been playing the game for a few years and I think I’ve gotten pretty good.” Both basketball and poker, according to him, requires great focus and concentration in order to master the two.
Paul Pierce may have found a post-retirement career as a high-stakes poker player. If his early exit in the past two WSOP events isn’t any indication of a successful future, Pierce has all the time in the world to hone his skills in Texas Hold’em before he can carve his name amongst the elite.