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Basketball Legend Tony Parker Becomes First Known Participant In The 2021 World Series Of Poker Main Event

Former Spurs Point Guard Won A Charity Tournament To Earn A Seat Into The Main Event


NBA legend Tony Parker is the first player confirmed to be playing in the 2021 World Series of Poker main event.

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, the four-time NBA champion won a charity poker event run by The PM Group in January. By taking down the charity event, the former point guard earned a seat in the $10,000 buy-in event this fall.

“He is very excited to play the main event for the first time,” WSOP director Gregory Chochon told the San Antonio Express-News. “Because of his career, he never had the time to participate but he is ready for the challenge. We always promote poker as a sport, so Tony’s qualification is great news!”

Parker played nearly two decades in the NBA, almost entirely with the San Antonio Spurs. He was a first-round draft pick of the Spurs in 2001 and played with the organization through the end of the 2018 season. He played with the Charlotte Hornets for the 2018-2019 season before retiring. He was an NBA All-Star selection six times and was the NBA Finals MVP in 2007.

While there is no official record of Parker playing poker at any competitive level and doesn’t have a recorded tournament cash, the NBA is full of poker enthusiasts.

Golden State Warriors minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya is well-known for dipping his toes into high-stakes cash games and is good friends with 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. Palihapitiya has three cashes in WSOP events and was even gifted Hellmuth’s 13th bracelet.

Hellmuth also coached David Lee, a 12-year NBA veteran who spent a good chunk of his career in a Warriors uniform. In December 2019, Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said that he got “killed” in team poker games and that the roster was filled with card sharks.

NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce has been a part of the high-stakes poker world for quite some time, as well. Pierce held the chip lead on Day 2 of the 2013 WSOP $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship and fell just a few spots shy of a cash in the 2014 main event.

He recently lost his job as a basketball analyst for ESPN after he posted raunchy videos on social media from a home game.

The 2021 WSOP will be held this fall from Sept. 30 through Nov. 23. The main event will run Nov. 4 through Nov. 17.