What do NBA players do for fun?

Charles Barkley & Michael Jordan
Barkley and MJ were renowned gamblers. Photo from the Washington Post.

We have already seen what NBA players are capable of doing on the basketball court, but what about outside the court? Which activities help the giant athletes bust stress? Do the likes of Lebron James and Kobe Bryant have fun in the same ways as any other celebrity out there, or do these superstars have habits that set them apart from the rest?

Let’s find out as we take a look at some of the most common hobbies and fun activities that both famous and infamous NBA players are well known for, off the court.

NBA Players love betting

If there is one hobby that is shared by the rich and famous across almost all fields of stardom, it would have to be their love for gambling. For example, Michael Jordan was and still is wel-known for his love of the game of poker, craps, roulette, and sports betting.

The legend still plays his favourite casino games in land casinos occasionally, but online casinos have made it possible for popular celebrities to keep their gambling habits private. Besides, with the kind of welcome bonus offers and membership benefits online casinos offer these days, regular people with limited gambling budgets simply find it difficult to ignore the better value for money!

Unfortunately for Charles Barkley, while Michael Jordan is famous for winning a lot more money in bets than losing, Berkley is infamous for losing way more than he ever needed to. In his own words in 2006, his visits to land casinos cost him over $10 million. Things took a better turn for the legendary Power forward, when Chuck won $700,000+ by betting on the Super Bowl in 2007. Other than Jordan and Berkley, other famous and extremely talented basketball players such as Shaq-O’Neal and JR Smith are high rollers as well.

Bowling is a NBA star favourite

Who doesn’t like bowling every once in a while? Well, a lot of people don’t apparently, but a lot of NBA players certainly like to go bowling often. It acts as a way to both bust stress and keep a fun, competitive spirit alive within each other.

If you have any doubts regarding how much basketball players love paying visits to the bowling alley, know that Chris Paul founded L.A.X. in 2012, which he now owns as well. Those not acquainted with bowling pros should know that L.A.X. is a fully professional and active bowling team from Los Angeles.

Musical superstars off the court?

Music is something that everyone likes to listen to, although their taste in music may vary quite a bit. However, it is a entirely different thing to be able to actually play an instrument for the band, or sing well in public. While they may not be as talented in their musical expertise as they are in sports, some NBA superstars are quite well-known for picking up an instrument or even the mic from time to time.


Damian Lillard, the all-star point guard for the Portland Blazers has a musical career plus hobby on the side as well. His stage name for rapping is Dame D.O.L.L.A. and so far he has released four albums and nine singles as a rapstar. Pau Gasol, the 6-time NBA All-Star Spaniard has a completely different type of taste in music though.

Gasol is good enough to play bass violin for the LA Opera, which is no mean feat in itself.

NBA Players have a weakness for video games

Thanks to smartphones, everyone is a gamer these days, but NBA players have a deeper connection to video games than just their EA NBA® contracts. It’s true that most basketball players have stated that they spend a lot of time playing games in the official EA Sports NBA 2Kxx series, but that’s not all they like either.

For example, Josh Hart and Reggie Jackson are seriously into Fortnite tournaments, while Lorenzo Ball loves PUBG almost as much as he loves his NBA games. Andre Drummond takes the cake in terms of variety though, because his love for open world RPGs began with the GTA series, only to later expand into the territory of fully-fledged, hardcore, third person action games such as God of War. The 6’ 10”, 280 pound giant among giants also has a soft spot for older NASCAR racing games apparently.

Ben Simmons at almost 7-feet (6’ 11”) is an intimidating figure during the PUBG gaming competitions, since the big man loves to trash talk! Simmons mentioned that he also likes Call of Duty games a lot, showing a general fondness for shooters in particular.

Finally, we have the Greek power forward/small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) at 6’ 11” and 242+ pounds. Unlike others on this list, Antetokounmpo was a an actual pro-grade competitive gamer before  joining NBA. Even though he does not game as much as he used to in his younger days, he does pick up the controller every once in a while for a few bouts of NBA, Tekken, or Pro Evolution Soccer in his spare time. In a strange turn of events, Giannis Antetokounmpo admits that his love for the Lego series of games is unwavering!

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