Last year around this time, basketball news was heating up. LeBron James made his famous "Decision" and took his talents to South Beach. We saw Carlos Boozer join the Bulls and Amar'e Stoudemire breathe new life into a dead New York Knicks franchise.
This year, we get a lockout! No real trade rumors, no free agent signings and, quite possibly, no NBA season. NBA players are doing a variety of things to keep themselves occupied with the lockout possibly threatening the season.
Some players are planning to play basketball in Turkey. Some players might be showing off their talent with a fast food fryer. However, one player is trying something a little different.
While combing through NBA news looking for something to keep my basketball jones in check, I ran across some unusual news. I looked at my Yahoo! search results and saw this: Paul Pierce has entered the World Series of Poker Main Event.
For those of you unfamiliar with poker, the World Series of Poker is the largest poker event of the year. The Main Event is, of course, the biggest poker tournament of the year. Anyone can enter, as long as you bring 10 grand or win entry through a satellite tournament.
Last year, the winner of the tournament won almost nine million dollars.
The news that Paul Pierce has joined the Main Event was a pretty big shocker. I have followed the WSOP since 2002, and have never heard of any NBA player entering it.
Most of us can't beat Paul Pierce in basketball, but can we best him at poker? Probably not.
It turns out Paul Pierce is actually quite good. After the first day of the event, he's sitting at 62,000 chips (more than twice the starting amount). He has shown that he is not only a basketball player, but a good poker player as well.
There have been a number of big names in the WSOP during its storied history, from actor Tobey Maguire to New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. However, can you imagine sitting and playing cards with a future NBA Hall of Fame first ballot entry like Paul Pierce?
This is almost worth the $10,000 entry in itself. It would be "fun," to say the least.
Poker players have always been somewhat intimidating. Anyone who wears sunglasses and a hat in a well-lit room is trouble. We all know this.
Can you imagine the image of a 6'7" Finals MVP saying "all in" as you look down at pocket aces? I don't know about you, but I might be scared enough to fold the best starting hand in poker.
With some Celtic luck, Paul Pierce might just be able to win a championship of a different kind.