“All you have to do is go on two dates with a player and you”re a star, too”: Player’s ex reveals realities of life as an NBA wife
Basketball wives: Tanya Young Williams says that life as an NBA wife is very different nowadays
The world of the NBA is, like pro soccer, about a lot more than just the sport.
It”s wrapped up in glamorous circles of high fashion, good looks and flashy lifestyles.
But the high life comes at a cost – especially for the wives of players, says Tanya Young Williams, ex-wife of disgraced New Jersey Nets player, Jayson Williams.
Speaking with the Daily Beast, the former NBA wife described the “strange world” of becoming a basketball spouse these days and how the role is so different to that when she first arrived one the scene two decades ago.
“WhenI met and married Jayson 20 years ago, the wives and girlfriends received no attention at all. No one cared who they were married to or who they were dating. No one noticed you,” the 43-year-old recalls to the site.
The realities of celebrity-driven sports and media – and the public”s voracious appetite for news of the ever-intriguing lives of sport stars – has changed all of that.
“No one noticed you, but today all you have to do is go on two dates with an NBA player and you’re a star, too. It’s a strange new world, and these young girls get very caught up in the fame more than anything,” she told the site.
The British soccer scene knows the phenomenon only too well. WAGs – wives and girlfriends – dominate headlines, social pages and are even said to influence team success
While the perks of being a wife in the industry – the shoes, handbags, parties and attention – are intoxicating, she suggests that fame and wealth can sometimes be toxic.
The truth is, Ms Young Williams – whofiled for divorce in 2009 after years of alleged abuse and her husband”s subsequent DUI and manslaughter convictions – says, that having a husband that everyone worships is far from easy, even if a marriage is based upon love: a basketball wife”s life soon becomes all about her man”s.
Not-so-glamorous: New Jersey Nets wife Tanya Young Williams was pictured in 2002 with her then husband Jayson Williams at his manslaughter trial
A star of VH1″s Basketball Diaries LA and a spokesman for The National Domestic Violence Hotline, stunning Ms Young Williams” life took some unexpected twists from the path of the fairytale College romance that she stepped onto when she first met Jayson.
She told the Huffington Post earlier this year that she “slept with a knife under her pillow” before her husband was eventually sent to jail for the shotgun death of a limo driver in 2002.
“I’ve tried to pass on what I know, but these young girls pay you no mind”
The advice of established, old-guard NBA wives, she told the Daily Beast, has served her well. Magic Johnson”s wife Cookie and Turquoise Erving, ex-wife of Dr J, both gave her the wisdom of years of experience in the NBA world.
But, she said, “young girls today that marry these guys won’t listen to anyone.
“I’ve tried to pass on what I know, but these young girls pay you no mind.”
In the harsh spotlight of the acrimonious current Kobe and Vanessa Bryant break-up, it is perhaps understandable that many see NBA marriages as a scandal-filled, unhappy fast-track to divorce.