Pro Athletes Of All Kinds Are Getting In
On The Pickleball Action
For many pros in other sports—from basketball to golf to mixed martial arts—pickleball has become both a way to relax and a new passion. Sound familiar?
FROM LINKS TO DINKS
Eight-time LPGA Tour winner Sherri Steinhauer left golf behind when she was sidelined by hip injuries. After fellow golf pro Lisa DePaulo introduced her to pickleball, Steinhauer went all-in on the sport, immersing herself in the growing scene in her new home, Phoenix.
In recent years she’s also become a Selkirk brand ambassador and started playing
in tournaments. The sport also counts other golf pros, including Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, and Ricky Barnes, as fans.
Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick traded in their rackets for pickleball paddles at a Paddle Battle charity event at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, held to support the Andy Roddick Foundation. Roddick’s doubles partner was entrepreneur and YouTube personality Gary Vaynerchuk (or GaryVee). A smashing time was had by all.
SHOWDOWN IN KC
This past April, after winning UFC Fight Night, middleweight Julian Marquez declared himself “the baddest man from Kansas City” and challenged Chiefs stars Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, and Tyreek Hill to a badminton or pickleball game to “see who the pound-for-pound champion of Kansas City is.” All three players responded via Twitter, with Kelce going so far as to suggest a venue: “We can settle ALL this up at Chicken N Pickle!!”
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
During their time in Orlando’s 2020 NBA bubble, Dallas Mavericks stars Boban Marjanović, Luka Dončić, and J.J. Barea picked up the sport in their free time. “I’m gonna guess Luka is good at it, because he’s pretty much good at anything he tries,” head coach Rick Carlisle said during a media session. The bubble even had a pickleball “commissioner,” according to an article in The Washington Post: NBA referee Scott Foster, who coached fellow refs and compiled a list of rankings for the participants. “If I were a referee watching myself play, I’d think, What a crazy guy,” he told the Post. “I would probably throw myself out of the game.”