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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Los That Top Ten Divorces in Sports (Part 2)

For part 1 (Numbers 10-6), please click here.

Before we go on, I need to get something clear. Divorce is serious. I'm not laughing at, nor making little anyone on the list, or anyone who may be going through one right now. By counting down these divorces, We aren't doing anything other than remembering information that we already knew about these people and there struggles, and measuring their place in eternity against each other.

What I'm trying to say is, if you laughed while reading this, it isn't my fault.

The title to this is misleading, because saying the "Top Ten" usually implies that there is something good is going on. Divorces, in sports or otherwise, are dirty, messy, petty things, that leave both parties involved extremely damaged (at best). A good outcome of a divorce is one person losing half of their net-worth, and if children are involved, parents splitting custody. Time passes, wounds heal, people re-marry or swear off marriage altogether. The only thing left is the awkward ex-husband/ex-wife interactions at the kid's events.

The bad ones? Oh does society love the bad ones! Think of the bad divorces you know of from your personal life. The ones that make us learn things about friends/family/co-workers that we never wanted to know. Divorce invented "TMI". These are the ones that teach us about gambling problems, alcohol and drug problems, strip club problems, porn-addiction problems, STD problems, "You know he needs Viagra"-problems, "He/She never goes down"-problems, "The kid isn't your's"-problems, "B----, I'm a kill you"-problems, etc.

They never stop, they never get old, and sometimes people get killed. It's real. Don't laugh.

Now, on that somber note, we look at Numbers 5-1 of the Los That Top Ten Divorces in Sports.

Two New York Football Giants come in at number five. Tiki Barber has made more headlines post-retirement than he ever made in his career, and he had a very good career. The Giants all-time leading rusher and receptions leader divorced his pregnant wife of 11 years in May of 2010. At the time he was a correspondent for NBC's "The Today Show" as well as a "Football Night in America" analyst. Reports then surfaced that Barber was leaving his wife for an NBC intern (Traci Lynn-Johnson), with whom he'd had a long affair. Cha, who was understandably hurt by the revelations of betrayal, had Barber banned from the delivery room when she gave birth to the twins in May of 2010.

(Other disturbing information about the Barber-Cha marriage: Barber and Cha have two other children together, for a total of 4 kids; Traci Lynn-Johnson recently wrote about her relationship with Tiki Barber for; Barber was reportedly spending nights in Lynn-Johnson's college dorm room; Barber didn't officially leave Cha until she was 8 months pregnant; Barber has been extremely critical of his own father for leaving his mother high and dry to be with other women, saying in a 2006 NY Post interview, "I don't give a [bleep] that the relationship didn't work...(N)ot only did he abandon her, I felt like he abandoned us for a lot of our lives. I have a hard time forgiving that"; Tiki's twin brother, and Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive back, Ronde is married to a woman who looks too similar to his brother's ex.)

Michael Strahan's divorce from his second wife Jean, believe it or not, was just as bad. The couple married in 1999, and for all that the general public knew, were a happy and wholesome tandem. Their split and subsequent courtroom drama dragged on for almost two years until it was finalized in 2007. The dissolution of their marriage revealed a completely different characterization of Strahan, who was accused by Muggli of having multiple affairs, including an "alternative" affair with TV doctor Ian Smith, videotaping her sister getting undressed, and forging her name on documents in an attempt to re-do their prenup.

Strahan accused Muggli of also having affairs, but with women.

Ultimately, the judge awarded Muggli $15 million (even though he only had a net worth of $22 million), as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in a child-support settlement. Strahan's tabloid troubles continued with his next girlfriend, Nicole Murphy (Eddie Murhy's ex-wife), whom he allegedly put a tracking device on, because (ironically) he suspected her of cheating. Imagine that.

4.) Allen Iverson and Tawanna Iverson

In my humble opinion, Tawanna Iverson is "The Answer" to the question "What exactly is a down a-- chick?". Tawanna has been knowing Allen Iverson ever since high-school, back when he was known as "Bubba Chuck", and getting into bowling alley brawls. The two married in August of 2001, the summer after Allen's MVP season. They have five children together, ranging in age from 15 years, to 22 months.

In March of 2010, Tawanna officially filed for divorce, stating that the marriage was "irretrievably broken.". That could have been for any number of reasons. Allen has reportedly had troubles with drinking and gambling. There was also the time that he had terroristic threat charges filed on him for allegedly throwing a naked Tawanna out of the couples house, then later looking for her at another family member's apartment, while wielding a gun. There are also the multiple stories/rumors of Allen's extreme gambling and drinking problems, which led Stephen A. Smith to write an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer literally begging people to pray for his safety.

Ultimately, Tawanna has asked the courts to give her full custody of their five children, as well as alimony. The marital troubles may have signaled the end of the road for the legend of "The Answer", had returned to the Philadelphia 76ers after a brief retirement, only to take a leave of absence from the team that ended his season and, in hindsight, paralleled in timing.

3.) Marion Jones and C.J. Hunter

Two Olympic athletes. Two World Champions. Two admitted (eventually) steroid users. One convicted felon. Few people could have been able to predict just how pathetic and tragic a turn that Marion Jones' would take after reaching Olympic heights at Sydney back in 2000. That summer, the only thing that came close to sharing headlines with Jones' accomplishments in the track and field events, was Vince Carter sexually harassing Frenchman Fredric Weis. She was the "Michael Phelps" of the 2000 Olympics, winning 5 medals.

But you can't be "Phelps" without the requisite drug scandal. C.J. Hunter, Jones' then-husband a world champion shot putter, tested positive for a banned substance, and wasn't allowed at the games. He was, however, allowed to give a tearful denial via press conference (and you are allowed to laugh at the irony).

Jones was thought to have dropped dead weight after splitting from Hunter in 2002. But oh my damn, did she have a fall from grace. Connections to BALCO, positive steroids tests, denials, Hunter testifying against her in court, six months for perjury, baby by Tim Montgomery (a track star who was also connected to BALCO, and served time for...) CHECK FRAUD, another perjury charge, another jail sentence, a pathetic WNBA comeback attempt... just read the Wiki page on her. A tragedy of Shakespearian proportions.

According to, this was the most costly celebrity divorce in history. Michael and Juanita were married in 1989, and I'll always remember seeing pictures of them together and thinking, "Is that his mother?". All jokes aside, Juanita always carried herself well, and was almost as key in shaping the Jordan brand as MJ's exploits on the court. She helped solidify his image as a family man, which made Middle-America more comfortable when spending two-hundred dollars for his shoes.

Now, at least with me, their relationship just felt odd. Something was off. I never could really accept that this athlete with all the money in the world could forgo all the fringe benefits that come with the fame, and be a family man. So when Juanita initially filed for divorce in 2002, citing irreconcialable differences, the cynic in me was like, "Yeah, makes sense."

But, Juanita went back. Stayed for another four before the couple finally divorced in December of 2006. Juanita walked away with $168 million. Mike walked away with the freedom to be seen publicly doing this. Rumors and inneundo slowly surfaced about Michael and his philandering ways (including a paternity suit, and a $5 million claim), but nothing has really stuck, other than Jordan's overall "IDGAF" attitude. Have you seen Hall of Fame speech? That doesn't happen on Juanita's watch, trust.

Yeah, uh, no explanation needed, really.

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