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The Belles of B-Ball: How NBA Players’ Wives Vie for Fashion Dominance - The Cut

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To have so many things that you’re not sure which of them came from the lavish caper at Barneys is to be part of a very ­rarefied class of fashion consumers. For NBA wives, Louboutins are the shoe of choice, even if some of them shrink the heels at the leather spa (“I want the latest and greatest, but I can only wear 100s or 120s. So yes, I do cut those heels,” says Chandler.) Diamond rings with carats in the double digits are gifts, worn for special occasions and tucked away in safety deposit boxes the rest of the time. Birkins or Chanel 2.55 bags are ubiquitous, unless they’re being left in the closet on purpose. “I’m not really a handbag person anymore,” says Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa. “I’ve collected Birkin bags, Chanel 2.55 jumbo flap bags, and the Marc Jacobs Stephen Sprouse collection for Louis Vuitton since I was a teenager. But now, as they say, everyone and their mom is buying a Birkin or a regular size 2.55 bag in black, taupe, or beige. I’ve been sticking to a magenta suede Proenza Schouler bag.”

The players have long been the stars, the peacocks, and always will be, but the wives are new American royalty, enjoying the rise in NBA salaries, like $15 million payouts per year for multiple years. And, as is often the case, the wives’ recent focus on fashion comes in tandem with a new interest in increasing their public profiles. “Ten or fifteen years ago, you couldn’t name the wife of an NBA player,” says Larry Platt, author of Only the Strong Survive: The Odyssey of Allen Iverson. “[Michael] Jordan’s wife, Juanita, was totally behind the scenes. When Iverson announced that he was getting married, most fans didn’t even know who his fiancée was. That’s how the players wanted it.” Rita Ewing, Patrick’s ex-wife, who made waves in the NBA in the late nineties with Homecourt Advantage, a steamy novel about players and wives, agrees. “There’s absolutely a shift in perception of the wives,” she says. “Anytime there’s more money, there’s more power. These players are getting paid so much more than the players in my day, so they’re bigger names, and bigger celebrities—and anyone who is involved with them is as well.”


Perhaps one of the reasons so many pro athletes go broke.

Why would any professional ballplayer get married???

Seems so much smarter to wait for retirement.

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