On Melo, La La And Baller Marriages

I abhor celebrity gossip. I understand that people are fascinated by the rich and famous, but I refuse to rent any mental space to who’s sleeping with whom, the fashion choices they adorn their children in, where they’re vacationing, and whose derrire looks great in a thong on the beach as opposed to who needs to wear grandma panties while building sandcastles.

Well, most of what I previously wrote is true, but my point is that I could truly care less about most of it.

And now, the Twitterverse is ablaze with the news of Carmelo Anthony and his wife La La separating yet again amid rumors of him impregnating another woman.

The jokes are flying fast and furious, like the one about Melo poised to lose the only ring he’ll ever own, among others.

I’ve met and spoken with Melo on a number of occasions. I’ve interviewed him for work purposes and I’ve seen him interacting with kids at his former youth development center in Baltimore. Each time, I’ve walked away impressed with his energy, sincerity and the clarity of vision that he’s walked through life’s turbulent waters with in pursuit of fulfilling his dreams.

It actually pains me to see his personal life and troubles within his marriage broadcast on news outlets, along with the insatiable appetite of social media to get swept up in it.

Carmelo and La La are, in some ways, like everyone else out here. Yes, they are celebrities worth millions of dollars, but at the end of the day, they’re simply human beings. And the estimates say that 50% of wed couples will end their relationship in divorce.

I would imagine the numbers for NBA ballers, and pro athletes in general, would be significantly higher. If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of NBA groupies, you need to read up. Because despite being like the rest of us in many ways, Carmelo lives in a universe that borders on the surreal. 

Last year, at the All-Star game in Toronto, I could only laugh and shake my head at what I observed in the upscale hotel lobby that I stayed in, and at the various events and parties I attended.

First of all, I’d never experienced that type of frigidity in my life, in terms of the weather. It was the absolute coldest environment I’d ever been in, and could barely walk a few steps from the hotel to the media bus without feeling like I was about to freeze to death.

And seeing the amount of cleavage and legs on display by the groupies in attendance, in those most extreme elements, blew my mind. It was easy for me to see how plentiful the groupies were, their capacity for ego-massaging and the levers they pull on the athletes celebrity status. I observed how easy it would be, whether holding on with a 10-day contract or rolling in the luxury of a max deal, to feel entitled to sex whenever one wanted it after an increased exposure to that type of environment.

With the exception of players like Grant Hill and Stephen Curry (the common joke is that they are the only NBA ballers of significance who were monogamous and wholly committed to their spouses), the majority of players living in this absurd and twisted universe see almost every interaction with a good looking woman as inherently sexual.

It’s easy to say that one either has morals or they don’t, and that determines whose down for some freaky-deaky infidelity. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a guy like Dennis Rodman was living it to the limit. But when we learned that players of supposed firm moral fiber like Dr. J and Magic Johnson were out there getting wild for the night too, it’s hard to reconcile what one knows is right with the temptation that comes with money and celebrity. 

The overlying arc of life as a pro athlete is self-indulgence, and few are immune. This is in no way meant to absolve anyone of guilt, it’s just a recitation of what that environment is like. 

While everyone out here is making jokes, I’m hoping that Melo and La La are able to find a happy medium where things work out in the best interests of them and their son.

The advice coming from people who’ve never been married, or who are doling out blame and pontificating on what went wrong, all the while still sleeping on the top bunk in their momma’s house while fronting with that used Lexus, needs to stop.

It won’t, but it needs to.

No one would be happy with having their personal relationship problems on Page 6. But this is the world we live in, where the computer gives courage to those who have nothing to offer but idiotic statements about the pain of others. 

I’m sure that Melo and every player in the league that has been through the rookie symposium, or have some wise counsel from others offering prescient advice, have bumped their heads with infidelity. Shoot, Jimmy the bus driver is finishing up his shift right now struggling with some of the same issues, minus the millions in the bank and everyone knowing his name while clamoring for his company.

The fact of the matter is that people get divorced, things don’t work out, and even good people make mistakes. Ask Troy Maxson. For celebrities, their marriages crash and burn even more spectacularly. 

All successful relationships require time and consistency. That’s hard to do when spouses are on the road for half the year playing ball or shooting movies.

For every Grant Hill and Tamia, or Steph Curry and Ayesha, there’s a Mike Tyson and Robin Givens, Shaq and Shaunie, Tiki Barber and Ginny, Tiger and Elin, Rick Fox and Vanessa Williams, David Justice and Halle Berry, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria, Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields, Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian (you forgot about that one), Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, Britney Griner and Glory Johnson, Ike and Tina and on and on.

But I ain’t one to gossip, so you didn’t hear that from me. I just hate to see young black love on the rocks. 

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