Paul Pierce: One eye on the prize

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For many outsiders looking in, Paul Pierce has had a storied career which has saw the veteran basketball star win a Championship medal in 2008 NBA Finals with his beloved Boston Celtics. He also reached the finals with the Celtics in 2008 and 2010, he’s been an All-Star 10 times and was voted the Finals MVP in when they lifted the trophy in 2008. It’s a glittering resume that most professionals can only dream about. Not forgetting that Pierce got the chance to play with the legendary duo of NBA-Hall of Famer Larry Bird and John Havlicek.

In recent years, Pierce has seen himself play for the Brooklyn Nets and more recently the Washington Wizards for whom he signed with this summer. And you could forgive Pierce for having one eye on retirement as his career enters the latter stages, but “The Truth” (a nickname stowed upon him by Shaquille O’Neal) in customary fashion is planning for the future.

In July this year Pierce made an appearance at poker’s most celebrated tournament, the World Series of Poker. It was his second time playing at the prestigious WSOP and as expected was garnering a lot of attention from the sports media as they followed him at the tables in Vegas.

Unfortunately for Pierce he eventually bowed out of the competition on Day 3 after effectively mixing it with poker’s elite for 48 hours. Its performances like this that have already made Pierce a respected name amongst the long list of celebrity or professional athletes from different sports that play poker competitively. Current sporting stars such as Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso, Spanish soccer star Gerard Pique who also competed at this year’s WSOP and tennis pro Nafael Nadal are all well-know poker enthusiasts.

Many sports stars are drawn to the world of poker because of the glamorous lifestyle many of the elite pros live. Ever since the profile of poker exploded via the “Moneymaker Effect” and uprising of Internet poker via the first online wagering portal InterCasino, many have been drawn in by the appealing nature of the sport. And a lot of sports professionals look at poker as a viable option to pursue after retirement.

As Pierce’s career comes to end, his appetite for poker will only grow. Expected to complete a trio of appearances when he attends next year’s WSOP, Pierce is definitely gaining the experience he needs to play competitive poker when he retires from basketball.

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