Tony Parker spent 17 seasons competing for championships in the NBA. On Day 1b of the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, the San Antonio Spurs legend entered a new arena in hopes of winning a different kind of title.
PokerNews reporter Tiffany Michelle caught up with the long-time point guard during a break. She put him on the clock and asked him to answer some rapid-fire questions, starting with his favorite poker player, which happens to be the great Phil Ivey.
Next question, “Which is harder, poker or basketball?” Parker smiled and said poker, which makes sense for him considering he mastered that skill many years ago.
Chasing a Fifth Championship
The French athlete averaged 15.5 points and 5.6 assists per game over his lengthy NBA career. He helped lead the Spurs to four titles and five NBA Finals appearances. Parker was the floor general, leading the way for many championship teams. On Friday, he looked to begin his quest for another title, this one in poker. But he was unable to advance to Day 2 and will have to try again next year.
“Both,” Parker said when asked if he’d rather win another NBA ring or a WSOP bracelet. “I can’t choose, Tiffany, both.”
“I just want to survive Day 1,” Parker said on the first break of the day. He didn’t make it through, but he’ll have plenty of opportunities going forward now that he’s retired from basketball.
Parker moved all in preflop with but ran into a player holding , and the best hand held up. That put an end to the retired basketball player’s hopes of running deep in the Main Event. But his presence in the event was still a positive for the World Series of Poker.
“Because of his career, he never had the time to participate but he is ready for the challenge,” WSOP Director Gregory Chochon told the San Antonio-Express News. “We always promote poker as a sport, so Tony’s qualification is great news.”
Parker earned his way into the Main Event via a charity poker tournament he won back in January. He was one of 845 players who entered the Day 1b session — 611 of whom will come back for Day 2 on Wednesday.