If you are a baller who is playing at the NBA level, chances are you have a very strict training regime, a solid attitude and a good mindset. But there is always room for improvement when it comes to your game, no matter how good you are. So we have compiled a few things that are common in talented poker players that we think the Magic, and of course any other ballers from around the world, playing at all levels, might benefit from.
While it is true that playing basketball requires an extreme amount of focus, to the point where it is sometimes like watching a group of anti-aircraft turrets with legs, poker players (some of the best, like France's Raphaël Lévy) take a different approach to focus - calm. There is, of course, the adrenaline rush of playing, but there is also a cool mindset that allows them to make fewer mistakes. It is an invaluable tool.
2) Tournament skills
One of the most intimidating things about going head-to-head is that you are not always on familiar ground. For example - if you are a Vegas big shot, that is all good and well, but the moment you get to Paris for the Grand Prix, you have got a lot to prove at the table. Focus, be calm, read up on the sort of tactics you might see over at http://www.partypoker.fr/, and keep your cool.
The same applies to ballers - if you are taking on those who may have a different approach to you, be sure you know that approach just as well as they do, and exploit every single potential weakness in it.
3) Psychological Warfare
Ever tried playing cards with someone who regularly heads to Paris and spends their evenings at the poker tables? It is something of a challenge, especially as they are very good at manipulating you into stupid decision after stupid decision without so much as breaking a sweat. This is an incredibly powerful skill, and given the feint-heavy body language requirements of basketball, it is one that could give Magic the edge when it comes to throwing their opponents off their game.
4) Personality Analysis
You can be as prepared as you like for a basketball game, but you will soon find that despite your extensive training, learning how your opponents' minds work is the true key to beating them, time and time again. Poker has extensive research on the personality types of players (read more on that here: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Poker/Personality) and you will find that psychological profiling on the fly is something you can witness should you pay attention to the faces of the finely-honed minds of poker players tooling around the Parisian poker circuit. This would benefit ballers, as it is always easier to push an offensive if you know exactly how to structure it so you hit the entire opposing team's weaknesses at once.
So I do not feel dirty, I may add some thoughts on Jacque Vaughn, Rob Hennigan and the long game of poker they are playing right now with the NBA. Game is at 8 p.m. Sunday against Phoenix. Thanks for indulging.