PERSON OF INTEREST: Pat Burke

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Owner of HOOPS Pat Burke’s Training Facility / Resides in Mount Dora / Age: 40


Career highlight: I spent 12 years playing professional basketball and won six championships as a player overseas. I also played two seasons with the Phoenix Suns and one season with the Orlando Magic.

Life since retirement: I retired at age 35 and eventually opened HOOPS Pat Burke’s Training Facility in Mount Dora. My wife, Peyton, is from Mount Dora. This is where we’d spend the offseason when I was playing professionally because we both love it here.

Scoring points with youth: At my training facility, I do more than help kids reach the next level in their basketball game. I offer Hoops Life, a 12-week program with specialized curriculum to help kids develop life skills through basketball. Hoops Life boosts their self-confidence and helps them learn self-awareness, leadership skills and effective communication. I make them better people; basketball is just a vehicle to achieve that. Hoops Life is also offered at the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center.

Worst advice: When I was 16, my high school basketball coach said he never wanted to see me dribble a ball. Putting limitations on athletes can be a big blow to their development.

Guilty pleasure: Avoiding exercise. I haven’t merely taken a break from exercise since retiring. It has become a way of life. I have 10 pairs of pants hanging on my elliptical machine. I need to exercise more.

Pet peeve: I hate when people block doorways. I guess it is the panic aspect of getting in and out of somewhere.

Favorite junk food: Pizza. At any given time there are three pizza boxes in my refrigerator.

How you met your wife: In 1993 while at Auburn, my college roommate’s girlfriend was having people over at her apartment. During the party, my basketball teammates asked me if I was talking to any of the girls, and I told them I’d talk to the next girl to walk through the door. Peyton walked in and we started talking. We dated from that point on and married five years later.

Music you’d take on a deserted island: Any Michael Jackson album. I guess I could learn to moonwalk on sand.

Fun Facts:

Pat played college basketball at Auburn University from 1993-97.

When he signed with the Orlando Magic in 2002, he became the first NBA player to have been born in Ireland.

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