Former NBA Champion Earl Barron Competes at WPT Miami Event

Former NBA Champion Earl Barron Competes at WPT Miami Event

Always seems like there’s a famous person in a high stakes poker room somewhere. Neymar, Mayweather, Kevin Hart all have been spotted having some fun during their off-time.

However, not all celebrities and athletes have gone as far as to become a professional player. But that’s exactly what Earl Barron is currently doing. The former NBA center is currently trying his hand at the World Poker Tour (WPT), which finds Barron playing Texas Hold 'em at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

From The Hard Court to The Hard Rock

Undrafted out of the University of Memphis, Barron originally toured the world in search of basketball glory. He went to the Turkish league right out of college, to the NBA D-League, to the Philippians. It was 2005 before he finally found a home in the NBA, which he did with the Miami Heat.

Barron won an NBA Championship with Miami, though he only played 8 games that season. From there, Barron became a journeyman. He hit the Italian league, Puerto Rician league, Taiwanese League, and Japanese league.

His NBA career ended in 2015, and his professional career in general ended in 2017. From there, he became an assistant coach for the Northern Arizona Suns. He’s enjoying his time as a coach, talking about it with worldpokertour.com.

“I just got lucky that I was talented enough and had older guys who mentored me, and showed me what they learned in college. I think it’s important for young kids to start at the bottom, learn the fundamentals, and slowly progressively get better.”

Barron at the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown

When it came to gambling, Barron decided not to go betting on the NBA and a sport he knows. Instead, he headed to a surprisingly familiar setting at the Hollywood Hard Rock.

“I came down to play a satellite and try to plan the main event. I played a $150 tournament, made the final table, and won about three grand. So I was like, ‘I’m going to buy-in and give it a shot.’ I’ve been running pretty good lately.”

He made it to day 2, and was sitting on roughly 140,000 at the first break. He was enjoying playing in the Hollywood Hard Rock, saying ““I actually started playing poker when I was with the Heat. I played sit and go’s here at the Hard Rock. This is where I learned how to play.”

The day wouldn’t end as well, as Barron would be eliminated before the end of Day 2. But the former NBA Champion did well to make his way to Day 2, showing that maybe a future career as a poker player isn’t out of the question.

Barron wouldn’t be alone if he decided to go pro in poker, joining names like former tennis great Boris Becker who successfully made the jump to professional poker. The German sits with $115,000 in total winnings from his poker career, to go with his six Grand Slam singles victories.

Right now it remains to be seen if Earl Barron will pursue a second career in poker, but it’s clear that the former NBA Champion would be able to hold his own should he want to give it a chance. For now, he’ll keep his talents in South Beach, but don’t be surprised if Earl Barron shows up in future WPT events.

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