Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce owes a poker home game host $180,000, according to a lawsuit filed, but is allegedly refusing to pay it back.
Stephen Carmona, per TMZ Sports, claims he hosted a private game at his house on January 27 and invited the NBA Hall of Famer, who is an avid but recreational poker player. He apparently gave Pierce a $150,000 loan to enter the high-stakes game with the promise of paying it back within seven days.
The lawsuit states that the retired basketball star only returned $10,000 of that money and then borrowed another $40,000 from Carmona to compete in a different game, but allegedly hasn’t paid back any of that either. Pierce reportedly made around $200 million in salary and endorsement deals during his 17-year NBA career.
Racking up massive debts isn’t something new in the high-stakes poker community, although one would expect a celebrity who earned hundreds of millions of dollars in his lifetime to have no issue paying back such a small amount, relatively speaking.
Pierce the Poker Player
Pierce hasn’t issued a public statement on the accusations, so it’s unknown why he’s allegedly refusing to make Carmona whole. The former Celtics forward has played poker for years and has even competed in the World Series of Poker Main Event a few times, along with some other bracelet events.
He also competed on PokerGO’s Poker After Dark in 2019 at a juicy table that included Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Tilly, Alan Keating, and the late Mike Sexton. In one hand, which you can view below, the basketball star known as “The Truth,” was all in preflop with against Keating’s . With $40,500 in the pot, they agreed to run it twice, and the best hand held up both times.
Heck of a Career
Pierce is far more known for his prowess on the hardwood than the felt. He attended the University of Kansas where he was a consensus All-American in 1998. He was then selected that summer by the Boston Celtics with the 10th pick in the NBA Draft.
The former Jayhawks forward became an instant star in the NBA, averaging over 20 points per game in eight different seasons. For his career, which spanned 18 seasons with four different teams (15 seasons in Boston), he averaged 19.5 points per game and 5.6 rebounds.
He was part of the memorable 2008 Celtics NBA championship team that included three future Hall of Famers — Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. At age 43, Pierce was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021, his first year of eligibility.
On Monday, Pierce will watch his former team compete in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. The best-of-seven series is tied at two games a piece. Boston is in search of its 18th NBA title, which would put the franchise alone in first place all-time, one ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.