Gambling is very much like sports. The two are equally exciting, almost unpredictable, and have millions of fans across the globe. The pandemic took a toll on both sports and casinos, and it may take years before the industries recover. Luckily, online gambling saved the day – new games appear on the market basically every month. In turn, sports fans switched to video gaming.
The similarities between sports and gambling are evident even from the number of professional athletes who are known to love spending their free nights in casinos. Some of the best-known names in the world of pro sports are also experienced gamblers. Here are some of them.
Basketball fans know Charles Barkley as ‘Sir Charles.’ He earned the nickname as the most successful power forward in the history of the NBA. With eleven selections under his belt, Barkley is also among the thirty players who were selected for the NBA All-Star Game the most.
Sir Charles was a bit of a rebel back in the day and was dragged to court for various misdemeanors. Still, Barkley’s amazing record and versatility earned him an almost cult-like following among NBA fans. And the NBA supports gambling, at least sports betting, anyway.
Love for gambling fits Barkley’s public image. Unlike many other athletes, he is pretty open about it and discusses his winnings in losses in interviews. According to Barkley, he once won as much as $700,000 basically overnight thanks to blackjack and smart Super Bowl bets.
Now, Michael Jordan needs no introductions. Even people who have zero interest in basketball know that he is among the most successful players in history. Jordan is also a bit higher than Charles Barkley in the NBA All-Star Game table. He was selected for an All-Star Game fourteen times and is also an icon thanks to the role he played in the popularization of the NBA.
Jordan’s love for gambling is secret to no one. It is documented in the book Michael & Me: Our Gambling Addiction – My Cry for Help!, written by Richard Equinas, a businessman and Jordan’s former golf partner. Jordan experienced some tremendous losses because of his gambling habit. But he also had some impressively lucky nights. He is rumored to have won millions at the craps table.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The NBA stars are not the only athletes who are into gambling. Many professional boxers are into games of chance and sports betting too. Floyd Mayweather Jr., who held the title of “The Fighter of the Decade” in the 2010s and was the one to defeat Connor McGregor in 2016, is among them.
Mayweather is no longer fighting, but his spotless professional record back in the day earned him enough fame to guarantee his success as a boxing promoter. Mayweather retired undefeated, which is impressive, seeing as his career included fifty fights.
Similarly to Michael Jordan, Mayweather never tried his love for gambling. He actually admitted that a large portion of his income comes from sports betting, as well as online casino gambling and brick-and-mortar casinos. Fun fact: one of Mayweather’s most impressive wins was a bet on himself for the fight with McGregor (over $400,000).
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s former colleague, a Philippino professional boxer Manny Pacquiao, is also a big gambling lover. Not everyone knows his real name, but there is hardly a person in the U.S. who has never heard of PacMan, the only Octuple world champion in the history of boxing.
Manny Pacquiao, who is now a Senator of the Philippines, is the only professional boxer who has won a title in eight different weight categories. In 2015, the only athlete in the world who earned more money than PacMan was his fellow gambling enthusiast Floyd Mayweather. The two also faced each other on the ring in 2015. Mayweather won.
Pacquiao’s preferences when it comes to gambling are somewhat unconventional. He once won almost $400,000 thanks to a lucky bet on cockfighting. But he enjoys casino gambling and sports betting too.