A Sit Down with SLBA’s Owner, Deon Chapman
Where were you born?
How did you discover your love for pool?
Seniors recreation center at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. I couldn’t beat any of the Asian seniors at ping pong, so pool was the next best thing.
What pool hall(s) did you play in often?
The pool hall where I learned how to play at was Champion Billiards located at Westmont Shopping Center in Arlington, VA. It was located right next to one of the first Five Guys ever. Chad, one of the founders of Five Guys, would come over to the pool hall from time to time to play some pool. Anyway, it was true old school pool hall. It was open 24/7, had 9- 9’ Gold Crowns, only sold sodas, coffee, and snacks out of a snack machine. Also, an old timer houseman named Beazy played there, who lived in the basement of the pool hall and knew every pool story under the moon – well, only his versions, that is. There were all kinds of pool action, road players and side action. This is where I first saw Alex Pagulayan and Leonardo Andam play.
Do you have any titles including league championships and the years you won, etc?
I do not have any titles other than the love for the game. I am a 7 in both TAP and the APA league. I used to gamble big and stake some road players from time-to-time. Now, I own and operate the first pool academy/club on the east coast.
Who is your biggest influence in pool, or who is your favorite player, and why?
This is not an easy one. There have been so many local folks who have dedicated their lives to the game and who have been my true inspirations, so I will leave it at that.
What gave you the idea, or motivated you, to open a billiards academy?
To give all the local players and pros a nice place to play where they are truly valued.
What was the “craziest” pool game/set you have played, OR have witnessed?
When I saw Leonardo Andam and Max Eberle play at old Champions in Arlington, VA.
What is your most rewarding experience so far as SLBA’s owner?
When I initially presented this idea to some of my closest pool friends and they took a leap of faith and supported the startup. In addition, the continued support that I am getting from the local pool players, from both male and female players.