Some professional athletes have a larger than life persona, transcending their sport and endearing themselves to the hearts of millions. They are super stars in their own right – catching, hitting, dunking, pitching, running and throwing balls, all to the delight of their franchise, fan base, and advertisers. They live enviable lifestyles and have beautiful wives. But, what happens when the wife is the bigger player? Does it make the brand stronger, or cause dissension in paradise?
Case in point, this week Major League Baseball pitcher Kris Benson has announced his retirement, but his wife Anna is stealing all the shine. During Kris’ tenure in the majors, Anna Benson became the apple of many a fan’s eye, with her “good-time girl” personality and saucy looks. Their stock rose as a couple, and now it seems that fans could care less that Kris is leaving the game, they just want to know how they can get their Anna fix.
Other athletes who had/have a wife or girlfriend that garnered her own attention and buzz include the NBA’s Reggie Miller (Marita Stavrou,) Glen Rice (Christy Rice,) and Tony Parker (Eva Longoria.) Boxing’s Mike Tyson (Robin Givens.) MA’s Tito Ortiz (Jenna Jameson.) The NFL’s Hank Baskett (Kendra Wilkinson,) and A.J. Feely (Heather Mitts.) And, of course, fill in the blank for a Kardashian sister.
A few of my mentions, like Tony and Eva, just didn’t make it last, but most times, these types of relationships can benefit from the female having her own shine. She “upgrades” the man so to speak, his appeal increases, and they ride it all the way to the bank, together.
Who can be mad at the opportunity for commercials, reality shows, magazine covers, books and apparel? Carmelo Anthony’s marriage to LaLa Vasquez made for good television. And, I guarantee you Tom Brady slinging Uggs would not be were it not for the universal appeal and worship of his wife, top-tier model Gisele Bundchen.
Sometimes, when all is said and done, when the wife is bigger than the athlete, its a cause for celebration.