By The Commissioner
“Too soon, don’t do it, reconsider, read some literature!!” This infamous quote by hip hop legend Andre Benjamin comes from UGK’s 2007 hit “International Player’s Anthem.” I can’t help but think about Andre’s words as I survey the landscape of young superstar athletes who seem to get married in their early 20’s…. only to get divorced before the age of 35. From Tiger Woods to Kobe Bryant to Dwayne Wade, there is an endless list of superstars who’ve tied the knot early in their careers–when they clearly were not ready to endure a committed relationship with the same woman for the rest of their lives.
Fortunately, for all of the future superstars who may face this difficult choice at such a young age, I am here to help them with their decision. Just say NO.
In America, the projected 2012 divorce rate falls anywhere between 40-50% depending on what you read. It is also estimated that over 38% of men who get married between the ages of 20-24 will have their marriages end in divorce. This is the highest rate of any age group for either gender. What this clearly tells you is that for the general population, a successful marriage is basically a coin flip. And the younger you get married, the less likely the chance that your relationship will last. So what do you think is going to happen with young married athletes who are constantly on the road and can have just about any female they want in just about any major city they travel to? I’ll tell you…DIVORCE
I have a theory. There is a 4-5 year period after you reach the legal drinking age (21) in which you need to do the following things: constantly go clubbing; satisfy your love loins; explore your emotions. This is the time period when need to taste multiple fruits and begin to form an opinion on what you are looking for in a long lasting relationship. And don’t get it twisted; this time frame of exploration is important for both males and females, because it is necessary for women to get these years of activity out of their system as well.
So if you buy into this theory that I’ve laid out, you can see why I think it is ludicrous for young athletes to get hitched in their early 20’s. No matter how much they convince themselves that they have found “the one,” the scenario that will play out almost always ends in disaster. Oftentimes, I think certain megastars such as Tiger Woods & Alex Rodriguez get married for “image” purposes. Others such as Kobe get married out of rebellion. Regardless of the reason, these gentlemen have not indulged in that all important period of exploration. The fact that they have access to the baddest chicks on the planet makes it damn near impossible for them to stay faithful.
Might I suggest someone who seems to have this marriage thing all figured out? I believe these young athletes should subscribe to the Book of Jeter. In my mind, Derek Jeter has developed the blueprint for how NOT to take the plunge when you clearly aren’t ready. Jeter has more notches on his belt than porn star Mr. Marcus, and he doesn’t care who knows it. Mariah Carey, Gabrielle Union, Vanessa Minnillo, Minka Kelly, yada yada yada…his track record is impeccable! There have been several times over Jeter’s 17 year career that rumors have swirled about him getting married, and each time he seems to have thought better of it, because he knows himself.
In the immortal words of the great Chris Rock, “A man is basically as faithful as his options.” When you are in your early 20’s and your options are limitless, you cannot expect to be faithful. You hear that Kevin Durant? You hear that Cam Newton? You hear that Blake Griffin? Heed the advice of much older and wiser men such as myself and Chris Rock. Or risk losing half of your wealth before the age of 35 to a chick that “wasn’t with you when you was shooting in the gym!!”
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