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The volatile world of NBA dating. You gotta love it. Rashard Lewis’s wife Giovanni Fortes tied the knot with Lewis after a long, long period of time. Reports vary but it was something like 10 years. In the real world, that’s perfectly fine, but in the NBA it’s unusual. Hey, a man gets older, sitting atop his pile of questionably-deserved cash, and he thinks to himself, “you know, the best things in life may well be free, but I want to be extra sure of that before I commit.” Perfectly understandable, Mr. Lewis.
Lewis is somewhat famous for his entrance into the NBA in 1998. I like to call him “Green Room Lew.” Rather than attending college, Lewis elected to declare himself eligible for the NBA draft, where he was passed by every NBA team until the 2nd round, getting picked 32nd overall. This may not seem all that bad to you, but the green room where he was sitting in is for the top 15 prospects. It’s supposed to be a veritable VIP section, and there he sat watching player after proven player get up and put on their hat and jersey with a big moneyed grin on their face. It’s gotta’ be a little embarrassing, but the man brought it on himself. He wasn’t a valuable player his first two seasons, and those were the seasons he would have been crushing in college, too. He was paid $287,500 and $385,000 those seasons. Maybe he just really needed the cash to help his family out, but I remember at the time people were upset that he entered the league so young. Ah, the days of “Jerry Maguire,” Rod Tidwell, and Rashard Lewis. Late 90’s moneyball.
Now, yes, Giovanni is indeed a lovely woman. She’s beautiful, and she strikes a serious figure in the moonlight and all that jazz, but there’s just one more aspect to the Lewis/Fortes knot-tying that should be explored, and that is the ultra magnanimous signing of his Orlando Magic contract. Folks, he signed a $118 million deal with Orlando in 2007. Who in god’s name was his agent? I’m telling you, Jay Mohr put on his best suit from “Jerry Maguire” and absolutely steamrolled the Magic front office. I have no idea how they were able to convince the Magic that Rashard Lewis was going to be the next Kevin Garnett or whatever they said to them. I’ve seen Lewis’s numbers from his last season with Seattle, and while they are decent, they are in no way deserving of $118 million. Lewis got those decent numbers by playing on a losing team the season before (the 31-51 Sonics). I understand the Magic realized he’d work with okay Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard, but they burnt through their wallet quite badly, as they’d soon realize. Anyway, after he amassed his Scrooge McDuck-like fortune, he was able to fly Giovanni and 25 bridesmaids out to Vegas to have a killer bachelorette party. The fact that there were 25 bridesmaids flown to Vegas is the thing people end up talking about when they reference his marriage; not where the money that gave him such amazing bridesmaid-flying power came from.
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Chris “Birdman” Andersen may have hit rock bottom after his last nasty break-up, but he sure is back on top now. And Chris Andersen’s girlfriend Tina Wiseman (now his fiancé actually) has everything to do with it.
The Miami Heat power forward/center came from rough beginnings. After his mom took off and his dad started traveling all over the world to sell his art, Chris Anderson was forced to choose between military school and a children’s home. He chose the children’s home and, from these humble beginnings, made it all the way to the NBA. Unfortunately Chris Andersen eventually got hit all at once with troubles once again and he got heavily involved with drugs. Chris Andersen not only lost his home in hurricane Katrina, his fiancé at the time Bandy Newman ended their engagement. But after a two-year ban from the NBA beginning in 2006, Chris Anderson made a solid comeback in 2008 and in 2013 was picked up by the Heat. Now he’s in his second year of playoffs with the Heat.
Birdman built his life back up and has an amazing fiancé to prove it. He first appeared for the press with Tina Wiseman about a year ago in June of 2013. The couple was photographed together at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, Florida. Tina Wiseman is apparently a model, and when photos of the couple hit the internet, fans went nutty.
In addition, Tina Wiseman seems to be really good for her 6 foot 10 tattooed man. She was there for him last June when Chris Andersen signed his one-year $1.7 million dollar NBA contract. Apparently Tine Wiseman expressed her happiness about the deal via Twitter. And the couple is also quite charitable together. In March of 2013, they were guests at a charitable event for Lauren’s Kids, an organization aimed at preventing childhood sexual abuse and helping survivors heal.
If the Heat do win the championship again this year, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Tina Wiseman on the internet.
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There's a longstanding rule in sports that cheerleaders are not to fraternize with the players. It's admittedly a rule that's broken pretty much daily, but a rule nonetheless. Which is what makes Erik Spoelstra's girlfriend Nikki Sapp fascinating. When you start thinking about the scope of a professional sports organization, both in terms of team staff and in house entertainment, how deep do the no fraternization rules go? Can a trainer for the team date the in house reporter? Can the mascot date a VIP waitress? And of course, can the head coach date a member of the dance team?
The Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has been dating Nikki Sapp, who just so happened to work as a Heat dancer. Sapp, 24, began dancing for the Heat when she was 18 years old in 2006. She continued on the dance squad for three years, retiring before the 2009 season. Erik Spoelstra, 42, has been with the team since 1995, but took over as head coach in 2008. Spoelstra as head coach and Sapp as a dancer overlapped by one season, though it's not clear if they were together in 2008, or if the beginning of their relationship was the cause for her exodus from the dance team.
Nonetheless, the couple is together now, and walked the red carpet at a charity event in Miami in early March, 2013. Sapp clearly has skills beyond dancing, as she graduated from Florida International University magna cum laude. She later attended Miami International University of Art & Design on a full scholarship before beginning work as an Art Gallery director in Bal Harbour, FL.