Player X: Maintaining a marriage...or not
DEC 30, 11:42AM ET
By NBA Player X
By my count, Tiger got to 15. It's a big number, sure. But I know some guys in the NBA, MLB, and NFL who juggle even more girls than that. Some of them are married too. So Tiger, we feel you.
The temptation pro athletes face is crazy, and the cards are stacked against those of us who get married. We're going to cheat; how can we not? We're constantly on the road, and we've got targets on our chests. I'm telling you, we see and experience things you can't even dream of. And the caliber of the women is just ridiculous. When they put on those dresses, do up their hair and get their makeup going, they look fine as hell. I'll tell you one thing -- our natural instinct isn't to ask them out to lunch.
Being home is no picnic, either. You've been apart from each other so long you've changed a bit. Over time it adds up, and after a while you begin to feel you don't know each other anymore. Plus, there's another side to the story. Our wives are prone to wander too. And the truth is, that can be okay -- provided you've got a strong relationship and have agreed to certain arrangements.
The first arrangement is a prenuptial agreement. Elin supposedly took Tiger for $100 million because they didn't have one. I'm sorry, no woman is worth that! I tell every young player who will listen: Get the prenup. If she won't sign, don't marry her. You have to protect what you've worked for, and a prenup does that for you. If she ever wants out, she can't touch your money. And without the money, she can't keep living like she's been living.
A few guys I know in the NBA have another type of marital arrangement: an open-door policy. They experiment with other women, just not behind their wives' backs like Tiger did. These guys tell their wives about the temptations they face, answer all their hard-hitting questions and come to an understanding. Part of that is they know they have to let their wives play too. Free the bird, ladies. Your man will come back, you can get yours and your relationship will be the stronger for it. I know some of what I just said sounds crazy, but something has to be done. Athletes let stuff happen to them way too much, and it affects their family and their kids.
One thing that is not acceptable, though, is messing with your teammates' partners. That's the road some folks are saying Tony Parker went down, getting into it with Brent Barry's girl. Whatever happened, I can tell you that wives and girlfriends don't know our code. They don't know what goes on in a locker room, how important trust is among teammates, even former teammates like Tony and Brent. I've seen wives throw themselves at other players, and I've seen some of those guys give in. It's bad news. That's why a lot of guys keep their ladies far away from the team. It spares everybody the headaches.
Whatever is going on with Tony and Eva, dating a celebrity isn't easy. Their jobs are similar to ours -- lots of travel, no shortage of partners to choose from. Their book hasn't finished being written. I wouldn't be shocked to learn someday that Eva had something on the side as well.
Not that marriages to "civilians" are much easier to maintain. A lot of us feel for Steve Nash and his wife. He's probably the most down-to-earth star there is in the league, and he's getting divorced. That was a big surprise to us all. Relationships that predate pro careers have the best shot, but sometimes not even that's enough. Dwyane Wade and his wife are done too, and that's sad because she was with him before he was D-Wade.
By the way, we're all watching Dwyane's custody battle very closely. It's a bold move, fighting to be your kids' sole caretaker despite the daily demands of life in the NBA. But if you feel you're in a better position than the mom to take care of them, you've got to fight for the right.
Thankfully, I married someone I love. We're happy, but that hasn't always been the case. The early years were difficult for us. I think we could have avoided a lot of problems if my wife and I knew then what we know now. But we overcame and have a stronger marriage because of it.
It can happen when you're older and wiser. Still, whatever you do, young fellas: Sign. That.
Talk about anything general in the NBA here.
THE LATEST FROM PLAYER X..... AFTER READING THIS, I AM STILL CONVINCED IT IS GRANT HILL!