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So Gary Neal had himself a game, huh?
The not quite yet household name Neal helped dismantle the Miami Heat in game 3 of the 2013 NBA Championships with an epic performance from behind the arc. Cheering from the crowd was surely Gary Neal's wife Leah Neal.
Gary and Leah Neal were married in Neal's hometown of Baltimore in July of 2010 after having dated for years before hand. According to her Twitter bio, Leah Neal is a "Commercial Real Estate/Environmental Attorney licensed in PA." The couple had their first child in September of 2011, a son named Nes.
The picturesque, happy family has been a long journey for Neal. After his sophomore year, Neal was dismissed from the La Salle basketball team after being accused of rape by a member of the University of New Haven women's basketball team. Neal was acquitted of those charges, but wound up transferring to Towson where he was forced to walk on to the basketball team pending the outcome of his rape case. Neal didn't see a scholarship again until his senior year of college, and while projected as a fringe NBA draft prospect, went undrafted in 2007. Neal traveled Europe as a pro, with stops in Turkey, Barcelona, Italy, and Spain (again) before finally getting the call from the International friendly Spurs in 2010. The journey didn't end last night for Neal, but it certainly had to be the highlight.
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If the Spurs dynasty run is to continue, one of the pieces they will have to replace sooner than later is Tim Duncan. Timmy's minutes are way down as the team tries to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Which great foresight, San Antonio just might have drafted Duncan's heir apparent when the took a flyer on Tiago Splitter.
Here was a lot of buzz surrounding Splitter when it was assumed he would declare for the 2006 draft. He ended up passing as teams were leery of the buyout price to free him from his Spanish league team. Flash forward to 2007, when the Spurs took him at the end of the 1st round. And then they waited. And waited some more. He finally signed a contract during the summer of 2010 to bring him state side and into the Spurs lineup.
Signing his first NBA contract wasn't only be thing for Splitter in 2010 - he also got married. Tiago Splitter's wife Amaia Splitter dawned a white dress on July 3rd, 2010 and joined her husband at the altar. Presumably the couple met while Splitter was playing in Spain, as her hometown is Victoria, Spain. Their first child (son Benjamin) was born in August 2012.
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In the aftermath of NBA Center Jason Collins announcing that he is gay, people have been buzzing to find out about his relationship status. While there have been plenty of searches for Jason Collins boyfriend or Jason Collins husband, an equally popular search has been for Jason Collins fiancee, who he mentioned without naming in his Sports Illustrated article:
"When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue." - Jason Collins, Sports Illustrated, May 6, 2013
In less than a day, TMZ was able to find and speak with the woman in question. Jason Collins ex-fiancee Carolyn Moos was as surprised at this news as anyone. Moos, a 6'6" former Center for the Stanford women's basketball team, said that Collins only came out to her the weekend before his reveal. The couple dated for a eight years before he broke up with her in 2009 with flawed logic and according to TMZ, a bunch of "BS excuses." Moos tells TMZ
It's very emotional for me as a woman to have invested 8 years in my dream to have a husband, soul mate, and best friend in him. So this is all hard to understand...
Despite her surprise and emotion, Moos wishes Collins only the best in that same interview, saying,
I care about him tremendously and only want the best for him. I want Jason to be happy for a lifetime and stay true to who he really is, inside and out."
As we previously mentioned, Moos was a standout basketball player, registering as one of the tallest to ever play for Stanford. She spent three years in the WNBA before returning to live and work in Los Angeles outside the game where she's currently teaching Yoga as well as working in sales.