Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James each has been the face of the NBA. But besides sharing common ground as the league’s best player for a time, these three share an off-the-court bond that is more ignominious than glorious.
For it is so depressing, and devastating, to watch our best and our brightest athletes throw away their future time and again by conforming and capitulating to a broken-down American institution:
MJ — once married, once divorced — ill-advisedly walked down the aisle again this past weekend.
Kobe — once married, almost divorced — ill-advisedly called off his pending disunion earlier this year.
LeBron — never married, never scarred — ill-advisedly will take a shot at matrimony this fall.
I think the key word here is “ill-advisedly.”
This remains one of the few areas in life in which Couch Slouch has PhD-like credentials. I am the Stan Musial of husbands — conjugally speaking, I am considered a two-time loser, but in baseball, my .333 batting average would put me in the Hall of Fame.
Be like Mike? Are you kidding me? No. Guys, guys, guys — be like Hugh Hefner. And, hey, I guarantee you the most interesting man in the world — that deliciously debonair Dos Equis fella — has never been married.
MJ was married for 17 years to his wife Juanita. Their divorce settlement reportedly cost him $168 million. Frankly, I believe this was karmic payback: MJ got away with a massive push-off against the Jazz’s Bryon Russell before hitting the winning shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals; nine years later, his ex-wife got away with her own beneficial “legal” contact.
So trust me when I can say — with more than 100 percent certainty — that a prenuptial agreement was required of Yvette Prieto before MJ ill-advisedly wed her Saturday in Palm Beach, Fla.
Speaking of which, how does any pro athlete get married without a prenuptial agreement? Heck, they won’t step onto the court or field without a cup — the prenup is the marital cup. Without it, they’ll hit you where it counts most, no?
(Column Intermission: Our favorite NFL quarterback, Jay Cutler, and former MTV star Kristin Cavallari have set a July 13 wedding date. Uh, I don’t like their chances. First of all, this is their second engagement — any time you break off an engagement, I have doubts about the viability of a long-term marriage. Second of all, he proposed this time around by text message and then sent her the engagement ring by mail — any time you text a wedding proposal and stick the ring in an envelope, I have doubts about the viability of a long-term marriage.)
Kobe, meanwhile, was this close to being free and clear — his wife Vanessa filed divorce papers in December 2011 but the two ill-advisedly reconciled three months ago.
What’s Kobe thinking? He was fortunate in 2003 when he avoided criminal charges for a sexual liaison with a Colorado woman. After being stupid there, he got even more stupid — shortly after that misstep, he shelled out $4 million for an 8-carat diamond ring for Vanessa. Geez. A nice dinner at Olive Garden would’ve done the trick.
And now LeBron — who should be smart enough to study the videotape — is set to ill-advisedly wed longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson in September.
LeBron, buddy, remember “The Decision”? No, bro, this is The Decision. Use a timeout and think about it a little longer.
If you back down a defender, then put up a fadeaway, turnaround jumper that keeps bouncing off the side of the backboard, you stop taking that shot, right? So why do these great, savvy athletes keep walking down the doomed aisle to matrimony?
At least MJ, Kobe and LeBron have stayed away from the Kardashians — just look at the careers of Lamar Odom and Kris Humphries since each of them knocked on the wrong door.
Anyway, here’s a relevant stat MJ, Kobe and LeBron should consider in regard to perhaps the greatest player in NBA history:
Wilt Chamberlain — 20,000 women, no wives.
Q. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is serving a 10-match ban for biting a Premier League opponent. Isn’t that a bit harsh? (Robert O’Leary; Indianapolis)
A. Biting usually draws a three-match suspension, but Suarez reportedly also had salt and pepper shakers and a cloth napkin on hand.
Q. Did Louisville’s Rick Pitino violate any NCAA rules getting a championship tattoo last week? (Allen Saunders; Columbia, S.C.)
A. Yes he did. As a result, Western Kentucky will be put on two years’ probation.
Q. What is Kevin Harlan yelling about? (Gene Sittenfeld; Glensboro, Ky.)
A. I have no idea.
Q. Even though I only watched two minutes of the NFL draft on ESPN, is there a blood test available to see whether or not I have dangerously high levels of Mel Kiper Jr.? (Mike Bliss; Annandale)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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