Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
WSOP Main Event Quick Facts
Shawn Marion hopes to someday own one of the world’s most exclusive jewelry collections.
Marion, the former UNLV basketball player who recently won an NBA championship ring with the Dallas Mavericks, would next like to get his hands on a World Series of Poker bracelet. Marion thinks he’s capable of becoming the first man with both an NBA and WSOP championship.
“That would be nice,” Marion said Tuesday while competing in a $1,500 no-limit hold’ em tournament at the Rio. “That would be sweet. If I could get some cards and some double-ups here and there, anything is possible.”
Looks like Marion will have to wait at least one more year before that’s possible. Marion busted near the end of the first day in the no-limit tournament when he ran his suited Ace-4 into pocket Kings.
Marion finished around 800th out of the 3,389 players who signed up for the tournament. That was well short of the money, as players had to make the top 342 to receive a payout.
“Tournaments are hard to play,” Marion said. “I’m a cash game type of guy. You have to be patient, wait for cards and sometimes you wait for so long, you get antsy.”
Marion is in Las Vegas to relax and visit family during his first downtime since Dallas beat the Miami Heat in six games to win the 2011 NBA Championship.
Marion always makes poker part of his trip. He wanted to play in the $10,000 Main Event, which begins Thursday at Noon and runs two weeks until a final nine players emerge, for the second straight year but a busy scheduled prevented it.
Marion has a trip planned to Los Angeles with his Maverick teammates for the 2011 ESPY Awards show next week and will also host his annual basketball camp in Chicago. But he’s not too broken up about missing the Main Event. Marion said there would be plenty of opportunities to test his card game in the future.
“I love playing poker,” he said. “I might turn pro when I get done playing ball. You never know.”
At this point, Marion is more proven on the hardwood than the felt. He’s played for four NBA teams since the Phoenix Suns drafted him ninth overall out of UNLV in 1999.
Marion started in every game of the NBA Finals and averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game for Dallas this season.
“I’ve been in the league 12 years and I got there for the first time,” Marion said. “It was my time. But at the same time, it’s hard to get there. You see all these great players that go through in the history of the league that don’t make it to the NBA Finals or get a chance to play at all and win a championship. It makes it that much more special.”
Marion still treasures his year at UNLV, in which he led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds per game, and let out a “Rebels” chant upon noticing a local reporter walk by his table at the Rio.
The feelings seem to be mutual with the program. UNLV coach Dave Rice was an assistant during Marion’s year as a Rebel and has fond memories of him.
“For as talented a guy as he was, he was always just so humble and committed to the team,” Rice told the Sun earlier this summer. “I was always impressed with his presence and how he carried himself.”
It remains to be seen if that confidence translates to the poker table. Marion has never cashed in a WSOP event.
But based on his basketball career, that’s not going to stop Marion from continuing to try to reach the top.