While I was watching an Arsenal game on the couch recently, my wife was sitting next to me reading about Kim Kardashian in one of her gossip magazines. It seems that Kardashian is constantly in the news, between her reality shows on E! and being pregnant with rapper Kanye West's baby.
I started to think about all the athletes Kardashian has been linked to over the years prior to dating West, and how it would be interesting to take a look back at what impact she might have had on those athlete's careers.
Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian dated on and off from 2007 until they broke up for good in 2010. When Bush first met Kardashian, he was the more well-known of the two.
Bush was a Heisman trophy winner in 2005 out of U.S.C. and was taken second overall in the 2006 draft by the New Orleans Saints.
Bush was one of the most in-demand athletes and signed a large endorsement deal with Adidas right before the draft.
I believe that once Kardashian and Bush started to date, it helped to raise Kardashian's profile and made her more of a household name, since Bush was so popular. After Bush won Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 with the Saints, he and Kardashian permanently called it quits.
Following this breakup, it seemed that Bush's popularity and luck took a hit. In 2010 he was ruled ineligible for the 2005 season due to NCAA violations and gave his Heisman trophy back. His violations were part of the reason why U.S.C. received strict penalties and had to miss two bowl games.
In the summer of 2011, Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he's had two decent statistical seasons but hasn't experienced team success.
Overall, after Bush and Kardashian broke up it appears that their overall popularity went in opposite directions.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a superstar soccer player that was linked briefly to Kim Kardashian back in April 2010.
The Real Madrid forward is extremely well-known in Europe and in my opinion, is the bigger star of the two. Had they officially dated, I believe Ronaldo would have been able to do more for her career worldwide than the reality star would have done for his.
Though they never dated, they had a quick fling after each of them experienced breakups. As Kardashian has moved onto Kanye West, Ronaldo has been with supermodel Irina Shayk since 2010—who has actually appeared in a Kanye West video.
With 21 goals this season and being a 2011 and 2012 finalist in the FIFA Ballon D'Or as the best player in the world, Ronaldo is doing more than fine post-Kim.
A wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, Miles Austin and Kim Kardashian were linked together starting in June 2010. Austin was coming off a 2009 breakout season where he caught 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. Austin's future was bright, and after he and Kardashian started to date, appearing on her reality TV show opened up a new way for him to be seen by non-football fans.
Kardashian has experienced more success than Austin has since their break up. Austin has never been able to live up to the numbers he put up in 2009. I believe the pressure from his contract contributed to his struggles and it's gotten to the point where one writer even called the contract extension a mistake.
Kris Humphries is currently a basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets, but is better known for being married to Kim Kardashian for just 72 days before she filed for divorce.
Before Humphries met Kardashian, he was a journeyman basketball player who played for three different teams before he found a home with the Nets. Humphries was considered an average player who wasn't a star, and most casual basketball fans may not have necessarily known who he was. Once he and Kardashian started dating at the end of 2010, his anonymity disappeared as they were constantly appearing in the media attending dinners and events around New York.
All of a sudden, Humphries became a household name and began appearing on Kardashian's reality show. When they got engaged in May 2011, he was finally making a difference in the Nets' frontcourt and was playing very well.
When their marriage ended in October 2011, Humphries was well-known and started to get taunted on the court once the NBA season resumed. Since Kim filed for divorce and moved on with Kayne West, Humphries has remained in the news for giving Kardashian a hard time finalizing the divorce.
Humphries is one of the few athletes linked to Kardashian whose career improved once their relationship ended. In July 2012, he received a 2-year deal worth $24 million, so he is successful on his own now without Kardashian.
In June 2011, Bret Lockett—who has only played a total of 10 regular season games in the NFL during 2009 prior to an injury—linked himself to Kim Kardashian after speaking with the tabloid In Touch. He told them that he had a five-month affair with her while she was engaged to basketball player, Kris Humphries.
Kardashian then threatened legal action against In Touch and Lockett for making the whole thing up. Lockett continued to stick to his story by telling TMZ he had proof. A few days later, Lockett backtracked saying that he never met her and Kim then told TMZ that "she was embarrassed for him."
I believe Lockett lied about Kardashian to try and get his "15 minutes of fame," but it backfired on him. Lockett wasn't a well-known player before he created this story and he hasn't stepped onto the field since, even though the New York Jets signed him to a reserve/future contract in January 2013. I would have to beileve that Lockett's credibility would be hurt in the locker room after lying so publicly about a relationship and getting caught doing it.