The life of an NBA player, much like any professional athlete, revolves around their sport. The travel, training, matches, media appearancesâ€”itâ€™s an all-encompassing endeavor. But when the whistles stop, and the sneakers come off, many of these basketball stars have interests, passions, and hobbies as diverse and varied as their on-court skills.
The thrill of a bet can be just as electrifying as the final seconds of a tied game. For some NBA players, gambling isn't just about chanceâ€”it's about strategy, camaraderie, and even a bit of fun competition off the court. Many have compared poker's strategic elements to the mental challenges they face in a basketball game, where reading opponents and making calculated decisions is paramount.
There's a rich history of players indulging in friendly card games during flights or exploring new online casinos during their leisure time. For them, itâ€™s an extension of their competitive natureâ€”a playful duel where, instead of baskets, chips signify victory. Furthermore, it's a social activity, a way to bond with teammates or friends away from the pressures of the NBA.
Several NBA players have shown a keen interest in photography. Kevin Durant, for instance, grabbed headlines when he was spotted shooting photos during Super Bowl 50 from the sidelines. For many, photography offers an artistic escapeâ€”a way to document the world from their perspective, away from the limelight. It's a chance to control the narrative, even if only in pixels.
Fashion and Design
Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have turned heads not just for their basketball prowess but for their off-court sartorial choices. The NBA has become as much a runway for high fashion as it has a platform for basketball. Players collaborate with designers, launch their own lines, and attend fashion weeks around the globe. For them, itâ€™s an expression and an extension of their brand.
The fascination with wine, especially among veteran players, has grown exponentially. Players like Dwyane Wade and CJ McCollum have their own wine labels, and many have boasted of their expansive wine cellars. It's not just about enjoying a glass after a game; it's about understanding the intricacies of wine-making, from grape variety to the aging process.
Video gaming is another favorite pastime, especially among the younger generation of players. It offers them an opportunity to relax, compete, and connect with fans in a different arena. Games like NBA 2K have obvious appeal, but many players have professed love for titles ranging from Fortnite to Call of Duty. And with the rise of esports, donâ€™t be surprised if post-retirement plans for some include a controller rather than a clipboard.
Music and Rap
Many NBA players find solace in music. Damian Lillard, or Dame D.O.L.L.A as he's known in the music world, has released multiple albums and has collaborated with renowned artists. Whether it's freestyling in locker rooms or hitting the studio, music provides players an avenue to voice their stories, opinions, and emotions. It's a cathartic release and another layer of connection with fans.
Philanthropy and Activism
One commendable hobbyâ€”or perhaps a dutyâ€”that many NBA players take seriously is philanthropy. LeBron James, with his I PROMISE School, provides education and resources to at-risk youth in Akron, Ohio. Players like J.J. Redick and Steph Curry have championed numerous causes and regularly contribute both time and funds. Their elevated platform allows them to create real societal impact, proving their worth goes beyond just points and rebounds.
Fishing and Outdoors
Believe it or not, the tranquility of fishing is quite popular among NBA stars. Players like Paul George have spoken about their love for fishing, finding it therapeutic and a stark contrast from the rigorous demands of the NBA. The allure of nature, away from the flashing lights, offers players a grounding experience.
Cooking and Culinary Arts
The culinary world has seen an influx of NBA personalities as well. Players like Serge Ibaka, with his popular series "How Hungry Are You?", show off their cooking skills while hosting teammates. The art of preparing a meal and the camaraderie it fosters can be both relaxing and bonding for players.
Entrepreneurship and Investments
Several players have ventured into the business realm, keen on expanding their portfolios and ensuring long-term financial security. Magic Johnson might be one of the pioneers in this space, but recent players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James have made strategic investments in tech companies, media outlets, and more. Their ventures remind us that they're not just athletes; they're savvy businessmen.
Whether they're snapping photos, designing clothes, sipping on a vintage wine, gaming, or placing a bet, NBA players, like all of us, need outlets outside their profession. These hobbies humanize them, reminding us theyâ€™re not just athletes but multifaceted individuals.
Yet, like everything in life, moderation is key. While we celebrate the diverse interests of our basketball stars, we must also remain vigilant, ensuring that their passions enrich their lives without detracting from their primary purpose. After all, for us fans, there's no hobby as thrilling as watching them shine on the court.
Lola holds a degree from the University of Tasmania (UTAS), post-graduation, she collaborated with gambling operators to innovate new bonus structures and enhance game features. She has consistently championed responsible gambling as a cornerstone of the affiliate industry. For now, she leads as the Chief Editor at Au Casinos List, setting the gold standard in online gambling journalism. Lola Henderson, an Australian online casino writer, has been in the business of writing about online gambling and casino games for years.