Of course like all professional sports, NBA players have their followers that chase after them, and in turn they chase down a few as well, especially in the NBA. When you get to travel all over the world and get paid a lot of money, you don’t really have to look far for that female companionship. The nature of the industry permits standards can be low, and high, and then really high and players find themselves landing A-list celebrities, leaving everyone scratching their heads- then on their feet for that slow clap in awe (further bonus points added to dating a member of the Kardashian family), as that seems to be a right of passage to the league. NBA players present a prominent status of all the major sports athletes, and not just because of how tall they are, but how effortless it is to have people flocking to you, whether you have a big name or not.
No longer are the basketball stars holding the spotlight in relationships as they are diving into entertainment industry pool, however some come back up for air being that guy dating a celebrity more famous than themselves. Here are 15 NBA players who dated celebrities WAY more famous than them.
15 Sasha Vujacic - Maria Sharapova
Sasha Vujacic is a Slovenian professional, currently playing for the New York Nicks, but has had his fair share of international play. The shooting guard has played in both Italy and Turkey, alternating between stints in the United States, originating as a first round draft pick for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004. In 2009 he met Grand Slam tennis star and Sports Illustrated model Maria Sharapova at a friend's barbecue. Sharapova has had a long and successful career in the sport, and has won four grand slam singles.
Word of her engagement to Vujacic came almost a year later, and then sadly two years later it was all called off, and not on the best terms. During a press conference when asked about Sharapova he jokingly stated, “I can’t hear you, what?’’.
14 Rick Fox - Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams is an actress, singer, fashion designer, and more. Her initial fame was when she was the first African-American recipient of the Miss America title back in 1984, launching her career into Hollywood. From this she went to recording music, and from vocals she appeared in movies, on the stage, and in major a few major TV series such as Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. She has been married three times, one of which was Rick Fox, a retired basketball player.
The couple eloped to the Caribbean in 1999 and a year later their daughter was born, Williams' fourth child. Fox played for the Boston Celtics and the Lakers, retiring in 2004, and then they ended up divorcing later that year amidst allegations of them cheating on each other.
13 Carmelo Anthony - La La
La La Vazquez (Anthony) is a television personality, businesswoman, producer, actress, and New York Times best-selling author. She came onto the scene at fifteen years old interning at a radio station, and while still in high school she was given her own show alongside Ludacris. In 2001 she joined the MTV family and became one of the networks top talents before leaving the network to begin producing, starting with Mike Tyson’s documentary, Tyson. Shortly after she started seeing basketball player Carmel Anthony, who was playing for the Denver Nuggets at the time.
On Christmas day in 2004 the two were engaged, and in 2010 they finally married in New York. Their life has been chronicled on her show La La’s Full Court Life, and she continually deters the label of a basketball wife, as it is safe to say she is much more than that.
12 Serge Ibaka - Keri Hilson
Keri Hilson is a singer, an actress, and record producer from Georgia who secured her first record deal at the age of 14. Throughout school she wrote songs for artists such as Britney Spears, The Pussycat Dolls, and Mary J. Blige before she signed with rapper Timberland’s label, skyrocketing her career to the top charts with songs such as “The Way I Are”.
In 2012 she began dating Congolese-Spanish professional basketball player Serge Ibaka, who has played on numerous teams, most recently playing for the Toronto Raptors. However, the couple ended their relationship back in 2016 after her disappointment in discovering he was not “the one”. We wonder if Ibaka and the Raptors will deem themselves to be the perfect fit this offseason.
11 Iman Shumpert - Teyana Taylor
Teyana Taylor is a recording artist and actress from Harlem, New York. She signed her record deal in 2007 with Pharrell Williams' label, and in 2012 signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label- a branch of Def Jam. She as created a name for herself through writing hit records for artists. She became a prominent fixture in most of West’s brand, most recently showcasing her body in his “Fade” music video, dropping jaws all around the world at it’s premier earlier this year. She has kept private about her personal relationship, however she is now married to Iman Shumpert, shooting guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In 2015 she gave birth to their first child, Shumpert delivering it with his bare hands. Shumpert was selected by the New York Knicks 17th overall in 2011 before moving on to Cleveland, winning the NBA Championship that same year in 2015-16.
10 Nick Young - Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea is an Australian born rapper who moved to the United States at the age of sixteen to pursue her career. She earned her recognition from videos on YouTube, and eventually signed to T.I.’s label back in 2012. Her first studio album in 2014, The New Classic, topped the Billboard charts making her the first non- American female rapper to reach the top of the charts. Before the release of her album she began a relationship with Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Nick Young.
They lived together in California and announced theirs engagement in 2015, calling it quits just over a year later after she went away and came back to security footage of Young who had brought another woman over to their home and, well, the rest is history. Turns out that other woman was his former girlfriend and mother to his son, and now mother to their daughter.
9 Tristan Thompson - Khloe Kardashian
Khloe Kardashian is an American television personality, and member of the headline topping Kardashian clan. Along side her sisters, she is among the girls who clearly have a certain type they go after, that being tall, dark, and handsome basketball players. She has seen her fair share of courtside games, most recently in Cleveland watching her center hubby Canadian Tristan Thompson. Thompson attend school in Texas where he played as a Longhorn, and was drafted fourth overall in the 2011 draft, the highest drafted Canadian born player in NBA history.
The pair began dating just a few months ago, with teammates urging him to cut ties with her before she takes the “Kardashian Curse” any farther into playoffs.
8 Amar’e Stoudemire - Ciara
Ciara is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress all rolled into one hailing from Austin, Texas before moving to Atlanta. She released her first, and best-known album Goodies in 2004, with a few to follow but nowhere near as successful as the first. Although the successful Hip-Hop singer is now baby mama to Seahawks star Russell Wilson, she has had her fare share of exes coming from different leagues. She dated power forward Amar’e Stoudemire who has played on several teams starting with the Phoenix Suns, and finishing with the Miami Heat before crossing the pond to play for Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel.
The couple dated around 2011 with the details of their relationship kept extremely private. However, just as Ciara was beginning to think she found someone to settle with, she caught him cheating and ended the relationship, and kicked him to the curb where he scurried back to his ex and proposed months later.
7 J.R. Smith - Rihanna
Rihanna, the queen of music, and let's face it, the queen of mostly everything. Famously born in Barbados, the star signed a contract with Def Jam Records after Jay Z took her under his wing to develop her into what she is known as today. Most of her songs fall under the category of best-selling singles of all time, to which she is also the lead collaboration artist. Not only has she exceeded over 230 million records worldwide, but also she has won eight Grammys and so many other ones we don’t even have room to list them. Needless to say, to be known as someone dating Rihanna, you would just have to come to terms with never having the upper hand in the relationship, and that is how J.R. Smith felt.
Smith is currently playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Back in 2012 the couple were spotted out holding hands and getting cozy. Smith is noted as being a cocky, and bizarre player, often getting himself in more trouble than good, which is why this did not last very long, and she continued on her way her “are they or aren’t they” relationship with Drake, but not before she called him out on Instagram.
6 Chris Webber - Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks is a notable model and was the first African-American woman to be featured on the cover of the Sports illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She was one of the world's top earning models and was a Victoria’s Secret angel for eight years. She began to turn her attention to the scree and starting acting, before creating the long time running reality show Americas Next Top Model, and for the record you would be lying if you said you never tuned in to watch her.
Chris Webber is a retired five time NBA All-Star who started and finished his career on the Golden State Warriors. Banks was often seen sitting courtside at Sacramento Kings games while they dated, with rumors swirling the two were actually engaged as well. Of course those rumors stopped when she was no longer seen at the games and both moved on after six months of dating.
5 Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade
Gabrielle Union is an actress who climbed the ladder to fame starting on sitcoms and then began to land roles in big screen films. It has been said her fame is credited to character Isis, captain of the Clover’s cheerleading squad in Bring It On, opposite Kirsten Dunst, aka the best cheerleading movies of all times. Her history of significant others tend to all be professional athletes. In high school she dated future NBA player Jason Kidd (he broke up with her two weeks before junior prom). Following that she married and divorced NFL player Chris Howard, and most recently she married Dwyane Wade.
He is currently playing on the Chicago Bulls and had earned himself a number of accolades throughout his career. Him and Union split briefly in 2013, as he could not keep up with her career demands, and the two reconciled and married in 2014.
4 Tony Parker - Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria is a prominent American actress, producer, director, activist, businesswoman (take a breath), and earned her masters degree in 2013 from California State University. Her first roles encompassed day time soap operas such as The Young and the Restless, before she landed the role of a life time and her alter ego Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives. The Latin superstar received a Golden Globe for her role and has since served as executive producer on different series. In November of 2004 she met San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and the two fell madly in love and were married less than three years later.
The two had a great run at their relationship, until Longoria discovered hundreds of text messages from other women in her husbands phone, and filed for divorce, restored her maiden name, and thank god had a prenuptial agreement. She went along being one of People magazine’s most beautiful woman, and he went back to being Tony Parker.
3 Marko Jaric - Adriana Lima
Adriana Lima is a Brazilian model and actress, whose primary recognition comes from the catalogues and runway as Victoria Secret’s most beautiful angel. The dark hair and green eyed queen of the runway has been their longest running model and was even named the most valuable Victoria’s Secret angel. At the age of 15 she won Fords “Supermodel of Brazil”, and the next year took second place in “Supermodel of the World”. She is the world's second highest paid model and Elite Model Management’s most prized talent. Enter Serbian NBA player Marko something… just kidding Marko Jaric. The 6’7 retired shooting guard played in both the NBA and in the EuroLeague. The two were married on Valentines Day in 2009 and they had two daughters together. After five years of marriage in 2014 Lima announced the separate and the divorce was finalized last year.
2 Lamar Odom - Khloe Kardashian
Khloe Kardashian has made the list again! This time a little more complicated than her current easy fling with boy toy Thompson. In 2009 after a month of dating, Khloe married Los Angels Lakers forward Lamar Odom. Their wedding was featured on her television series Keeping up with the Kardashians, and Odom became a household name to those who had no idea who he was. A year later they got their own spinoff series, which was unfortunately cancelled after two seasons. After the show stopped, basically so did the marriage. Odom was arrested with a DUI in 2013, and less than four months later Khloe filed for divorce which was documented as an extremely hard decision for her.
His addiction and alcohol got the best of him and in 2015 he was infamously discovered unconscious at the Love Ranch and was rushed to hospital where he suffered several strokes and kidney failure. His recovery is going well.
1 Kris Humphries - Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian a lady who needs no introduction, because we all know why she is famous. From her television presence, to business presence, to modeling, she is either absolutely loved, or absolutely hated by the world. Her growing influence on social media has landed her tens of millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter, which I guess also helps as she is married to rapping icon Kanye West. Kardashian has been married three times, one of the most controversial ones being to NBA player Kris Humphries, who was then with the New Jersey Nets.
Now Kris really doesn’t need an introduction because no one even knew who he was before he popped the question to Kim. The two were married in a two part series on her show and after 72 days of marriage, she filed for divorce. Whether the marriage was a publicity stunt or sincere, it took Humphries off the map just as fast as it put him on it, and they never saw him again.
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