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Basketball legend Rick Barry remains active on pickleball court while son pursues Olympic hoops gold

Former Florida Gator Canyon Barry to compete on men's Olympic 3x3 basketball team
Posted at 11:42 AM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 11:42:47-04

NAPLES, Fla. — At 80 years old, NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry remains an imposing figure.

"For an old man I can still get around pretty good," he said.

While the type of court has changed. This basketball legend is thriving at pickleball. WPTV caught up with Barry while he competed at the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships in Naples.
     
"My goal was to win the triple crown — play singles and win singles in my age and skill, play men's doubles and mixed doubles," he said. "I was able to do that this week."

Rick Barry stays competitive on the pickleball court after his legendary basketball career.
Rick Barry stays competitive on the pickleball court after his legendary basketball career.

Barry is the father of five sons and one daughter. For the boys, basketball could be seen as the family business.

"To see my boys having a chance to succeed in the sport that was so good to me, that I had great success in, it's just incredible," he said.

Canyon Barry is the youngest of Rick's children and still pursuing his hoop dreams. The former Florida Gator will represent Team USA this summer on the men's Olympic 3x3 basketball team along with former NBA player Jimmer Fredette, Kareem Maddox and Dylan Travis.

Canyon spoke about the tense moments before learning he made the team.

"It was the call to say, 'Hey, congratulations,' or it was the call to say, 'You know, we're so sorry. We've selected a different team,'" Canyon Barry said. "But I was lucky that it was the positive side of that coin."
      
Together his team has won a silver medal at the 2023 FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Austria, gold at the 2023 Pan American Games and gold at the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup.

"Those guys have great chemistry. They work well together," Rick Barry said. "I'm so happy the Olympic committee decided to let those guys, who worked so hard for a whole year to get the team qualified, choose them after they had tryouts."

Canyon Barry is the youngest son of Rick Barry and will be competing in the 3x3 basketball tournament at the summer Olympics in Paris.
Canyon Barry is the youngest son of Rick Barry and will be competing in the 3x3 basketball tournament at the summer Olympics in Paris.

Rick Barry said out of all his sons, Canyon listened to him most when it came to basketball. All you have to do is watch him shoot a free throw — using Rick's iconic underhand style.

"He's so freaking smart," Rick Barry said. "He's got his masters in nuclear engineering, a physics degree, so he figured it out that it really is scientifically the most efficient way to do it."

Canyon's support system in the quest for gold includes WPTV First Alert Weather meteorologist Frances Peyton. She's been there on and off the court as Canyon's pursued his Olympic dream.

"I like started to understand the importance because of the sacrifices that he made not only for his job and sleep and health, but he's also making personal sacrifices like missing a best friend's wedding, missing things with his family, missing things with me," Peyton said.

Peyton said the journey continues to bring them closer.

"It's just a special moment to see someone hit a pinnacle in their life and be part of that memory is really special," Peyton said. "He's also he's such a great guy, and he's worked so hard."

Back at the pickleball court, Rick Barry is hopeful that his son's Olympic journey brings a podium finish in Paris.
     
"Nothing would make me happier than to see him standing on that podium," he said.