What do professional NBA stars do when the season is over, or when they enter retirement? The answer for many, it seems, is to play golf. There are many basketball stars that are actually not too bad with their swings and a select few that are playing at quite a high level.
One of the greatest NBA golfers of all times is Michael Jordan, the man who popularized basketball all around the world in the 90s and is the current chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan is a member of the Bears Club and has submitted plans to open his own golf course in Hobe Sound, along with 25 other shareholders. He currently hosts his own celebrity golf tournament in L.A. and has an impressive handicap of 1.2. That’s not bad at all!
On equal footing with Michael Jordan in terms of his golf skills is Ray Allen. The two-time NBA Champion and 10-time All-Star shares the same handicap as Jordan with 1.2 and was even named the best basketball player in golf by Golf Digest. He holds an annual charity tournament for his Ray of Hope Foundation and also plays in the Lake Tahoe celebrity event. Among his golden golfing moments, Ray broke 75 15 out of 20 rounds at the TPC River Highlands, including a 67. He still has time to grow, and since he’s retired from basketball, he may even play with the pros one day.
The best golfer who still plays in the NBA is probably Stephen Curry. He has tied fourth place in the Lake Tahoe celebrity tourney and was leading at the end of round two, before finishing 3-over-par 75 on the last day. Curry’s golfing days started early and he played on a team for three years before heading to the NBA. He now plays a handicap between a 1.2 – 2 and has been ranked the NBA’s best golfers and the 14th best celebrity golfer. Curry will be the first NBA player to actually join the pros when he competes in the web.com Tour, a well-known gateway to the PGA.
Not all golf fanatics share the same elite handicaps as Allen, Jordan and Curry. There are many others who enjoy golf as a hobby or pastime, who also play a pretty good game and involve themselves with setting up events.
J.R. Smith is one such player. He once joined Dustin Johnson, the current favorite to win the U.K. Golf Open with 9/1 odds on BetStars for a range session. Smith has ambitions to set up his own line of golf shoes, as well as open an NBA charity golf tournament.
Other NBA players of old and new who enjoy a round of golf include trash-talking legend Larry Bird, who has a 3.1 handicap, Kyle Korver of the Atlantic Hawks, who has his own charity events for his foundation, and Deron Williams, a regular at the Lake Tahoe who’s top standing is 46th, just below Ray Allen in the competition.