Basketball icons > Poker stars…Or the other way round
Some of the brightest stars in basketball have been attracted to the grandeur of major poker competitions for quite a long time, now. Tournaments like the World Series of Poker have been participated in by NBA players such as Jordan Farmar and Shawn Marion. Also, basketball stars and poker professionals regularly join forces to raise funds for worthy causes via charity competitions on a regular basis. And most of the time, due to the renewed popularity of poker, these events are televised to a sizeable audience and raise large amounts for their respective charities. So, with that in mind let's look at other basketball personalities who attended major events such as these and the poker pros that came into the sport via basketball:
As a native of Las Vegas, Nevada Brunson is known as The Godfather of Poker for a reason. Doyle Brunson has been a professional poker player for more than half a century. Aside from writing books like Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course in Power Poker, he won the 1976 and 1977 WSOP Main Events and was inducted in to the Poker Hall of Fame.
Brunson was a member of the All-State Texas basketball team before attending college in Abilene, Texas, and was about to sign with the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers) but he was sidelined with a knee injury. Prior to the injury, Brunson was already playing five-card draw. When he graduated, he was became a salesman and on his first day, a friend invited him to play seven-card stud where he managed to take home a sizeable sum home that day, and well, the rest is history.
Antanas Guoga, who is known by his nickname Tony G, has been a member of Team partypoker.com since 2010. Poker fans are familiar with Guoga because he is a highly skilled card player, making it to the final tables of various Aussie Millions and World Poker Tour competitions, and having 15 money finishes at World Series of Poker tournaments.
Guoga is also the Lithuanian Basketball Federation’s Vice President, and he was the team manager of the nation’s basketball team from 2010 to 2012. His leadership was key to Lithuania qualifying for the quarter finals of the London Olympics.
Currently playing for the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanghai Sharks, this three-time NBA All-Star player is often called “Agent Zero” because of his number on his jersey. Gilbert Arenas played for the Golden State Warriors from 2001-2003, the Washington Wizards from 2003-2010, the Orlando Magic from 2010-2011, and the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012.
Arenas recently flew to the Bahamas to participate in the Pokerstars Carribbean Adventure Main Event. He competed against professional players like Scott Seiver and Jason Mercier. Even though Arenas didn't win the event, tournament reporters like Donnie Peters noted that Arenas showed great potential in the competition and looked forward to seeing Arenas in future competitions.