You've heard about it before. You know, one of those contests where the fan who gives the most to a sports celebrity's favorite charity goes to dinner with him/her. If your first "date" is a prize and photo op, then you know that the night is doomed from the start. Bulbs flashing, scripted moments; it's the opposite of 'hanging out'—the antithesis of cool.
So, what if it wasn't some contrived set-up? What if, for example, you run into Troy Polamalu and his wife at REI, and miraculously, you hit it off? What if, like Jerry Seinfeld and Keith Hernandez, you find yourself in a budding friendship with a superstar?
First, if you're going to hang out with famous sports icons, don't do it alone. Make it a couples night. You need a release valve; you need your better half. Secondly, don't hang out with a diva or ego maniac, because you'll never recover from a night that ends with Chad Johnson looking at his phone for hours before saying, "I gotta go."
You and your guy or gal need to be paired with an athlete and WAG/HAB who are grounded enough to have fun with you. Yeah, they may be beautiful and pay the bill (besides, you didn't order the Cristal), but that doesn't mean they can't play Jenga or play a good ol' fashioned game of "Quarters."
These are the 20 Coolest Couples in Sports.
Victoria Secret's most stunningly beautiful Angel Adriana Lima is married to the NBA's most stunningly "meh" player (in terms of looks and talent) Marko Jaric. The two met in 2008 and Jaric recognized a good thing and locked it all down on the fly. They just welcomed their second child.
Dinner Conversation Topics: I'm not going to lie, I was just throwing my boyfriend a double figurative bone on this one. Marko Jaric seems wretchedly boring and Adriana Lima is exceptionally Catholic and far more virtuous than her devilish good looks would have you think.
I'd like to have a nice quiet dinner so he and I both could stare at Adriana for awhile. It sounds super mean, but we'd probably both ignore Jaric all night because his English isn't superb and he's really just too lucky in love to not dislike.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman confirmed in February 2012 that he was dating saucy redhead Jaime Edmondson, Playboy's Playmate of the Month for January 2010 and runner-up for Playmate of the Year.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Um, Playboy and nudity. Because we all know damn well that nobody cares about the Rays. Sorry Rays fans…if there are any of you that actually exist and pay for tickets.
Three time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May met baseball player Matt in January 2004 and the couple married just eight months later. They've been existing in wedded sports bliss ever since.
Dinner Conversation Topics: These two aren't your typical "super cool" sports couple, but they seem like a real laid back couple of people—especially considering all their athletic success. I'd probably just try to convince them to dish the dirt on the Olympics and MLB.
Adorable Danish tennis sensation Carolina Wozniacki has been dating adorable Irish PGA superstar golfer Rory McIlroy since 2007.
Dinner Conversation Topics: These kiddos are just a couple of adorable young athletes in love. I'm not sure either of them is old enough to drink in the United States, but I'd just like to buy them drinks and see what comes up—ya know?
Actress Eliza Dushku, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bring it On fame, has been dating retired NBA player Rick Fox since October 2009. The age-inappropriate couple have been living together since 2010, which is fine because lots of us ladies have daddy issues.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Well, Dushku is a well known fan of the Celtics, the team that Fox spent half of his NBA career playing for, so I might ask her if she had been stalking him or if it was just some really good luck. Sort of like if I somehow ended up living with Jaromir Jagr or Andy Van Slyke at some point in my life.
It's probably a little too personal for a first dinner date amongst couples, and it would definitely make my boyfriend (and her boyfriend) feel very uncomfortable, but I don't know all that much about Rick Fox, except that he had a nasty divorce from Vanessa Williams; and I'm well known to ask inappropriate questions to strangers.
I'd probably ask about his nasty divorce, too. Something tells me that my boyfriend and I would be picking up the tab after this double date from hell.
Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has quietly been dating Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton since summer 2012. The two are still pretending like they aren't dating, but Upton was spotted at a number of MLB playoff games in 2012 and Verlander refused to deny the "accusations" (LOL) in October 2012.
Dinner Conversation Topics: I would definitely avoid the nasty Giants sweep of the Tigers in the 2012 World Series, because that was ugly and just seems mean. Both my boyfriend and I would rather keep to topics such as Kate's rendition of the Dougie and the Cat Daddy…and just her boobs in general.
One of the most eligible bachelors in Russia no more! Capitals superstar forward Alexander Ovechkin has been dating Russian tennis beauty Maria Kirilenko since late 2011. Ovi announced their coupling via Twitter on November 30th, tweeting: "Maria….she is my queen!!!!!" along with a photo.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Obviously I'd be asking him a lot about his offseason rap career in Russia and would see if he'd be willing to bust a few rhymes during dinner. I'd tell him I loved his Eastern Motors commercial. And I'd ask Kirilenko if she and Maria Sharapova were friends, enemies or frenemies.
Then I'd probably have to spend time explaining the whole frenemies concept to her because of the language barrier. I might explain it to her in terms of Russian-American relations right now—superficial niceties, but deep-seated resentment.
Heat aging superstar Dwyane Wade, who is currently existing in the sizable shadow of LeBron James, has been dating beautiful actress Gabrielle Union since 2008-ish. I say "ish" because the exact timeline of their romance is unknown, but their coupling (or copulating) is said to have been one of the reasons for his divorce from high school sweetheart Siohvaughn Funches in 2007.
Dinner Conversation Topics: I'd certainly dig for some dirt on LeBron, but D-Wade would probably shut me down immediately on that one. I'd avoid the ugly divorce because I expect that would leave me and my boyfriend sitting at a restaurant alone.
Ultimately I'd probably end up pressing Gabrielle for all the details on the behind-the-scenes happenings of Bring it On. Like who's a bitch…and who's a bigger bitch!
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson has been together with wife Chandra Janway since 2002. They eventually married and welcomed their first child, the adorably named Genevieve Marie, in July 2010.
Dinner Conversation Topics: I don't know a darn thing about NASCAR—sorry NASCAR fans. But I do know that I love when people crash and throw their helmets at…things. But Chandra is beautiful, so that would be lovely and then we'd probably spend the rest of the evening asking Jimmie what it was like to work with Prickle Bear.
Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker married former Hooters girl Anna Burns in June of 2012 in Aspen, Colorado. BFF's Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen were among the couple's fanciest of friends and family in attendance.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Why the Patriots don't value his services, Anna's hilarious personal "Thank You" note to Busted Coverage for their wedding gift, the "Silicone Spoontula" they requested on their wedding registry, and the kerfuffle that they and their good-time buddies got into at a charity event in Aspen.
And (if I got drunk enough, which I totally would) Welker's beautiful baby blues. Then things would get awkward.
Dude. Did you know that Mavericks billionaire owner/playboy Mark Cuban was married? Me freaking neither! I'm from Pittsburgh, which means I've followed the life and times of Cuban quite closely, so learning this news recently was quite stunning.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Um. Mark Cuban is married? I'd be all…uh…Tiffany…have you ever seen your husband on the Internet? Anywho! Hopefully we'd all walk away great friends because I love me some Mark Cuban more than Terrell Owens loves him some him.
Golf superstar Phil Mickelson has been together with his wife Amy since 1996. In 2009, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer and Phil suspended his appearances on the PGA tour indefinitely. In 2010, Phil began endorsing Enbrel after being endorsed with psoriatic arthritis.
Dinner Conversation Topics: I love Phil Mickelson, but there have been more than a few whispers that this union isn't all that meets the eye—which makes it all the more interesting. So I would probably want to ask about the rumors that Amy had an affair with NBA legend Michael Jordan in 2010 and Phil's (alleged) illegitimate child that made headlines the same year.
We'd probably end up as mortal enemies, or sleazy swinger couples.
According to his Wikipedia page, American tennis disappointment Andy Roddick first noticed stunning blonde model Brooklyn Decker while leafing through the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The couple began dating in 2007 and eventually married two years later. Lucky. Bastard.
Dinner Conversation Topics: The last thing I would want to do is be rude (that's not true at all), but I would be forced to have a Seinfeld George Costanza moment with Brooklyn and be all "you could have done a lot better than this guy."
Awkward. But true.
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant met his future wife Vanessa while he was recording his (mercifully unreleased) rap album in 2000; she was just 17. She filed for divorce in late 2011 because Kobe cheats on her every day he's not at home, but apparently she learned to live with it because it was called off (for now) in June 2012.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Basically I'd just be hoping that they'd be passive aggressive with each other every time one of them spoke—so hopefully we wouldn't need many topics. Just watching these combative jags go at it for a couple of hours over a few bottles of wine would be absolutely epic.
But if we really needed a topic, I would probably bring up all the broads Kobe was spotted with at the 2012 Olympics in London and ask Vanessa if she was really as furious as reports painted her. Then she'd probably hit me. Then I'd probably cry.
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has had his share of girlfriends over the last few years—and he's only 22! Currently he seems to be semi-permanently attached to his pregnant girlfriend Raffaella Fico, an Italian model. They've been on-again off-again for some time.
Dinner Conversation Topics: With Balotelli, I feel like there wouldn't be anything truly off limits because he's such a combative wild card. I'd like to ask him about his decision to set off fireworks in his own bathroom as well as his decision to break into an Italian prison.
I feel like he'd probably be fine with whatever my line of questioning became.
I never actually thought about Vikings' defensive end having a wife until asking someone their opinion about this very list! Well, as it turns out, he's happily married to the beautiful Amy Allen and the two welcomed their first child in October 2011.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Well, I'm from Western Pennsylvania, so I'd probably bring up hunting and his love of mullets. Not because I hunt or like mullets, but because everyone else in my family does and I actually know something about them. I'm not sure what else we'd really have in common.
I just know that Jared Allen is freaking hilarious and that I'd love to have dinner with him and the wife. My boyfriend and I don't know many fun couples anymore.
Hope Solo is the two-time gold winning goalkeeper of the U.S. women's soccer team. She recently married career criminal/retired NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens the day after having him arrested for assaulting her. The future Bonnie and Clyde had only been dating for two months prior to their (eventually) ill-fated nuptials.
Dinner Conversation Topics: It's difficult to decide whether or not bringing up Stevens lengthy rap sheet (which includes rape) would be a good idea. My heart says yes, but my brain says no. Same goes for Solo's Dancing with the Stars temper tantrum and her one-sided psycho feud with former teammate Brandi Chastain.
So despite putting them on this list of the "coolest" couples in sports that I would like to go to dinner with, I'd actually be afraid to bring up all of the stuff that makes them cool. Which is actually what makes them even cooler. They are like Hell's Angels.
Well…Nets owner Jay-Z and international superstar and singing sensation Beyonce have been together for about a decade. They just recently welcomed their first child Blue Ivy and the world went nuts.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Whatever Jay-Z and Beyonce wanted to talk about. That's just the world we live in, folks.
American tennis legend John McEnroe was the original bad boy of tennis who used to be married to troubled actress Tatum O'Neal. Their combative union eventually ended and he married rockstar Patty Smyth, a singer/song writer, and the lead singer of the 80's band Scandal.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS? John McEnroe is one of my favorite athletes of all time and 80's rock is one of my favorite music genres of all time. There's absolutely no way I'd hold back on anything—even if I was afraid Johnny Mac might hit in me in the face. Whatever.
I'd ask them about Tatum O'Neal's insanity…his countless freakouts…the scene at CBGB's in the 80's. McEnroe is an American hero.
The absolutely, beyond epic, NBA coach of both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, Phil Jackson has been dating former Lakers executive Jeanie Buss since 2001. She is the daughter of former Lakers owner and executive Jerry Buss, and the sister of current franchise operator Jim Buss.
Dinner Conversation Topics: Phil Jackson is the most epic head coach in the history of all American professional sports and Jeanie Buss is one of the first high profile female sports executives in history. I'd probably find it impossible to hold back on anything when it comes to this legendary duo.
How about you and I? Well, assuming my boyfriend and I break it off. If that happens, I'll be picking my new boyfriend via Twitter...so you best be following me if you want all the deets! Just a thought ;) Follow @blamberr