While athletes can be some of the world's most fearsome, bold competitors whenever they grace the field, hardwood, ice, or whatever other terrain they may utilize to showcase their talent and impose their will, even they are susceptible to becoming severely "whipped" when pitted against the lovely allure of a scintillating temptress. In fact, considering the caliber of tail these guys are pulling, one might say they're (understandably) even more prone to falling victim to the proverbial 'thirst trap' and finding themselves under the reign of a pants-in-the-relationship-wearing significant other.
In case you're still confused about what being "whipped" entails and how it pertains to athletes, just know that we're not referring to what that crazed Mississippi high school coach did to his students with a ten-pound belt in order to prevent their reported 'destruction of self'; instead, we're talking about Tom Brady becoming a Barbie doll before our very eyes because Gisele insists on styling him or how Russell Wilson recently took a vow of abstinence with his wife-to-be Ciara in order to 'save themselves for marriage' -- despite the fact that rapper Future mathematically had to have hit that millions of times.
Funnily enough, we’ve seen several high-profile instances in which a perceived hero and playboy was whittled down to a little nub of affection by the apple of his eye and many of these situations are jam-packed full of drama and the dirtiest of laundry just dying to see the light of day. Behold, the 15 Most “Whipped” Athletes in Professional Sports:
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15 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Apparently, Marlins catcher Jarrod "Salty" Saltalamacchia has a thing for older women seeing as his wife, Ashley Saltalamacchia, is roughly 14 years his senior. Even more interestingly, she also was a gym teacher at the high school Salty attended! While the unlikely couple claims they weren't knocking boots until after Salty graduated, there's certainly some reasons to be suspicious anytime a teacher eventually marries one of her students - have you ever seen Adam Sandler's That's My Boy? Case in point. While banging a hot teacher is pretty much every high schooler's dream, marrying her at a young age - before even seeing what kind of tail comes with being in the MLB - can be more or less summed up as being whipped.
14 Mariano Rivera
The Sandman was pretty much a model of consistency and loyalty during his 19 pro seasons with the New York Yankees and his relationship with his wife, Clara Rivera, is no different. The lovebirds met in elementary school back in Panama, dated as young adults and have been happily married since 1991. While the best closer of all-time could probably have been getting laid left and right in New York, he chose the gentleman's route and stuck with the first and only love of his life, Clara. While he may not be publicly whipped like some of these other guys, the strong love triangle between Mo, Clara and The Bible certainly places him in a category similar to being 'whipped'.
13 Carmelo Anthony
Despite being one of the top scorers in the league, Carmelo Anthony is really just a soft, smiley little schoolboy whenever it comes to his celebrity spouse LaLa Anthony. The luscious LaLa practically transformed Melo from a thuggish, trouble-prone kid into a model citizen who wears turtlenecks and keeps his names out of headlines; basically, she put a saddle on him.
While they've had their share of problems - including (inevitable) cheating rumors, messy separations and all that jazz - they've also stood up for each other several times; remember when LaLa got into a fight with some hecklers in the stands at a Nuggets game? Or that time Melo went toe-to-toe with and practically stalked the deranged Kevin Garnett because he said LaLa "tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios?" At the end of the day, LaLa is the mother of Carmelo's son, Kiyan, and something tells us that this Bonnie & Clyde-esque duo won't be splitting up anytime soon.
12 Philip Rivers
Gunner, Sarah Catherine, Rebecca, Grace, Halle, Caroline, Peter and Clare; those are the names of the eight children that Philip Rivers and his wife Tiffany Rivers are raising. Philip and Tiffany, who dated since the 7th grade and both (reportedly) abstained from premarital sex due to their strong religious beliefs, are an inseparable and openly-loving duo who do pretty much everything together. At one point, the couple briefly started a charity aiding foster kids and still team up to carry out this vision in their spare time. Despite their picturesque, fairy tale-like union, having a wife and eight kids is equal parts 'whipped' and sobering; Rivers is officially in this for the long haul.
11 LeBron James
King James brought everything full circle when he married his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, in front of a small group of celebrity friends back in 2013. While their love dates back to age 16 and now includes three kids, there's definitely been a fair amount of turbulence along the way. As some might remember, Savannah was linked to Miami Heat player (and LBJ teammate) Rashard Lewis as it was reported that the two were sleeping together.
These kind of rumors come with the territory, but if there's even a grain of truth to that claim and LBJ chose to stick around, he instantly catapults from #11 on this list straight into the Top five range. Either way, it seems like maybe there's something to this whole 'being true to one woman' thing; whether it's Kobe, Melo, Mo or some of the other superstars on this list, marrying your high school sweetheart seems to equal success.
10 Stephen Curry
While it's hard to make fun of someone for being 'whipped' after they take their significant other to Chick-Fil-A for an anniversary dinner, the entire world has caught wind of the adorableness going on between Stephen Curry and his "backbone" Ayesha Curry by now.
Steph & Ayesha, who met as 14-year-olds at a church youth program in 2002 and later married in 2011, are practically inseparable and their giddiness towards each other is almost too cute for comfort. Whether the proud parents of child star Riley Curry are collaborating on playful YouTube videos, shooting barefoot jumpers together or sticking up for one another in the midst of social media firestorms, there's no denying that Steph & Ayesha are both sprung to the maximum level. For marrying his church school sweetheart and being so darn chipper about Ayesha every time a media member feeds him the bait, Stephen Curry is definitely one of the more whipped pro athletes; with that said, his marriage should make everyone jealous.
9 Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder was once a man on top of the world; he was one of the best sluggers in the MLB, had just landed in Detroit and even felt bold enough to pose naked for ESPN's Body Issue despite being husky as hell. Then, it was all stripped away from him after his frisky wife, Chanel Fielder, reportedly had an affair with his teammate Avisail Garcia.
Reportedly, this incident caused a violent altercation between Prince, Avisail and even Miguel Cabrera - who had stepped in to defend Fielder and apparently re-injured himself in the process. Detroit swiftly traded Avisail to the White Sox and later moved Fielder to the Rangers against his will - most likely so that Chanel couldn't screw any of their other players - and have since been in rebuilding mode. As far as their marriage, Prince filed for divorce after the affair, but later rekindled his love for Chanel and the two are back together. For letting Chanel Fielder's antics break up a potential dynasty team, Prince Fielder and the entire Detroit Tigers organization are whipped.
8 Kobe Bryant
Kobe and Vanessa wasted no time getting married (against the interests of Kobe's parents) when she was a 19-year-old high schooler/video vixen and he was a 22-year-old NBA player. Like a sucker, Kobe didn't make her sign a prenuptial agreement and has subsequently come close to losing half of his fortune every time their marriage has been on the rocks; for that reason, she's wearing the pants. Still, the couple has stuck together through all of the controversy and they now have two beautiful children. Kobe, who got his first tattoo in Vanessa's honor, has had to put up with some craziness over the years; remember when Vanessa made their maid stick her hand in dog poop? Remember when Karl Malone got traded simply for hitting on Vanessa or when she banned female cocktail waitresses from approaching Kobe? For all of these reasons, Kobe is unquestionably one of the most whipped star athletes.
7 Lamar Odom
The guy has had enough bad publicity of late so it pains me to do this, but it's hard to ignore Lamar Odom's situation when thinking about whipped athletes who let their marriages get in the way of their careers. 'The Candy Man' was publicly lovey-dovey with Khloe Kardashian right away and even gave Khloe (the least attractive Kardashian, mind you) a 9-karat diamond ring after only one month of dating. Then, Lamar put up with the ridiculous spotlight placed on the Kardashian family and even participated in a reality show about his marriage with Khloe for two seasons - reportedly against his own will at times. When their marriage fell apart starting in 2012, many people believe that Lamar Odom's downward spiral began and his basketball career subsequently ended.
Even Phil Jackson has publicly admitted that he thinks being with Khloe impacted Lamar Odom's effectiveness in the NBA, which resulted in his trade to Dallas and certainly played some role in the drug abuse that almost cost him his life a few months back. Of course, when Lamar was practically on his deathbed, ex-wife Khloe Kardashian found a way to attach her name to the headlines and that's exactly why he needs to avoid her moving forward. Hey, even Kobe's wife Vanessa hates Khloe.
6 Kurt Warner
If dating an older woman is any indication, the chokehold that Brenda Warner has over her marriage with Kurt Warner is certainly worth a mention. The devout born-again Christians have seven children (five together, two from Brenda's previous marriage) and, while their story is inspiring, it's not without some controversy; Brenda arguably played a big role in why St. Louis dealt Kurt in 2002. While Kurt was in St. Louis, Brenda became the center of attention by frequently calling local radio stations in order to challenge the Rams' coaching staff and schemes among several other aspects of the team's decision-making. At one point, Brenda even put head coach Mike Martz in the hot seat in an attempt to defend her husband during a long-winded on-air rant.
Unsurprisingly, Kurt was released by the Rams following that season and the couple stayed together. Whether there are potential 'mommy issues' at play, there's little doubt that Kurt's 50-year-old former-US Marine Corps wife is wearing the pants in this relationship.
5 Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes is unarguably in the Top 15 most whipped athletes discussion despite the fact that he and the love of his life, Basketball Wives LA star Gloria Govan, are separated. Matt Barnes has known Govan since she was a 12-year-old with braces and he was 17 (interesting) and the former lovebirds reconnected at age 26 and later married in 2012.
Now divorced, the estranged couple are the parents of two twin boys and Govan is still the executive director of Matt Barnes' charity Athletes Vs Cancer despite their difficult break-up. In addition to allowing his ex to run his charity, Barnes also can't stand the sight of Govan doing well; his loose-cannonry has caused him to grow enraged and sometimes erupt whenever dating rumors about Govan emerge (i.e.: Colin Kaepernick, Derek Fisher). Remember when he drove 95 miles to kick D-Fish's ass a few months ago? Maybe it's an ego-related thing, but from where we're sitting, it looks like she's got an eternal hold on him.
4 Kris Benson
The marriage between Kris Benson and ex-stripper Anna Adams was probably one of the best examples of how being famous can go terribly wrong. Back in the 2004-05 season, Kris basically let Anna run him into the ground and her outspoken nature also kept Benson and the entire Mets organization in hot water. Not only did her antics spark up cocaine and steroid allegations that plagued Benson, but she dressed up like an adult star to attend the Mets' Christmas party and even snidely stated that Dominican General Manager Omar Minaya was putting together "an all-Latino team."
Making matters worse, she later told Howard Stern that she'd sleep with everybody on the Mets (ball boys included) if Kris ever had an affair. Ultimately, her craziness had to have played some role in the Mets' decision to deal Benson the following season and Benson still stuck by her side for quite some time. When a crazy, toxic marriage like that one lasts 13 years; somebody's whipped.
3 Tom Brady
As if there weren't already enough reasons to hate Tom Brady, it turns out he and Gisele are a match made in heaven as she has proven to be quite a ball-deflater herself. Not only does Gisele style Tom, groom him, keep him on a super strict diet consisting primarily of quinoa and wilted greens, but she also has no filter when it comes to voicing her opinions - however toxic they may be. Remember when she shocked everybody by condemning every Patriot other than her husband after their crushing Super Bowl loss?
Experts, sports pundits and the league in general have taken notice of her antics; as Brandon Jacobs once told reporters: "She (Gisele) just needs to continue to be cute and shut up." Until Tom Brady can keep that side of Gisele in check and reclaim his (seemingly fading) manhood, he'll be a perennial lock for the Top 5 Most Whipped Athletes for decades to come.
2 Doug Christie
Jackie Christie is literally a crazed puppeteer and Doug Christie is her willing marionette; this is a dynamic we're not too used to seeing in pro sports. Jackie was so overprotective that she actually forced Doug to change in a separate locker room for his entire stint with the Toronto Raptors (1996-2000) because she was suspicious of female Raptors staffers having access to the players' locker rooms. She also accompanied him during interviews with female reporters and let her wrath be known to several overly-friendly female fans over the years.
Not only did he sit back and allow all of this, but the couple even has a bizarre annual marriage ceremony in which she literally leashes him up and walks him around like a dog. Now that Doug has retired, the couple has announced that they are diving into the adult industry (as producers) and, as always, this feels like something Jackie is pushing Doug into.
1 Russell Wilson
Even if 90% of his whipped-ness is the result of his relatively extreme religious beliefs, the things Russell Wilson has been doing lately pretty much cement him as the most whipped athlete in the history of professional sports - maybe even the most whipped man to ever grace Planet Earth. Here's how it all began with his girlfriend Ciara, as told by Russell Wilson himself according to US Magazine:
“She was on tour and I was looking at her in the mirror, and she was sitting there. And God spoke to me and said ‘I need you to lead her.’ And I was like, ‘Really? Right now?’ And he goes, ‘No, I want you and need you to lead her,’” Russell said. “And I asked her, ‘What would you do if we took all that extra stuff off the table? And just did it Jesus’ way?'”
As touching as this divine miracle is, it sounds awfully a lot like Russell Wilson thinks he's going to save Ciara's life in some way which, as J. Cole warns ("don't save her, she don't wanna be saved"), can be a risky proposition. For now, things are just peachy and the two lovebirds and devout Christians are fully-committed to abstaining from pre-marital sex in order to 'save themselves' for the big day. Still, it's worth noting that Ciara is no virgin and already has a son with rapper Future, who had three other kids prior to the birth of Future Zahir.
Now, Russell Wilson is pushing around Future Zahir's stroller and basically raising him as his own after only a few months of dating Ciara; the pinnacle of being whipped. Wilson also reportedly has a hand in why Future can't see his own son and, making matters worse, he also forbids the Seattle Seahawks' DJs from playing Future's music during their practices. Clearly, Wilson loves his woman a lot, but maybe, just maybe, he's taking it 1,000,000 times too far by trying to control the situation between Future and Ciara. At the end of the day, Future's all about the gun talk and Russell Wilson might need divine intervention if he ticks off the trapper-turned-rapper too much.
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