Pau Gasol, Vanessa Bryant and the 10 Juiciest Locker Room Affairs and Rumors

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2011

Pau Gasol, Vanessa Bryant and the 10 Juiciest Locker Room Affairs and Rumors

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    When teams like the two-time champion Lakers get utterly humiliated as they did by the Mavericks, the logical course of action for sportswriters and fans is to question what happened.

    And beyond the obvious issues of help defense, or the inability to guard Dirk Novitzki, a new rumor—the type that traditionally follows a team's collapse such as this one—is floating around:

    Pau Gasol's girlfriend, Sylvia Lopez Castro, allegedly broke up with him two weeks ago, and the rumor goes that she may have broken up with him at the behest of Vanessa Bryant, who may have indicated Gasol was cheating.

    Again, these are all rumors to this point, and rumors that are usually supported with the, "Well, Gasol didn't play so well in the playoffs, this might explain his poor play, he was distracted, blah blah blah..."

    But it got us at Swagger to thinking: What are some of the juiciest rumors that made the rounds involving teammates and the women in their lives?

10. Jayson Werth and Jennifer Utley

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    Last summer, rumors started popping up on the Internet that Jayson Werth was allegedly having an affair with Jennifer Utley.

    These rumors were never close to being substantiated.

    The site that initially reported the rumors, TheDirty.com, later took down the post. By that point, however, the rumors were already circulating throughout the Internet.

    Everybody wants a little traffic for their website, I get it. But don't make things up, people. It's immature, irresponsible, and can do irreparable damage to the personal lives of human beings.

9. John Terry and Vanessa Perroncel

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    In 2010, amidst rumors that captain of the English national soccer team John Terry had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, ex-girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, Bridge quit the national team and Terry was stripped of his captaincy.

    And to this day, Bridge won't shake his hand in any pre-match handshake lines, even though the newspapers involved in the rumor-mongering apologized for spreading what they called the "untrue" rumors.

8. Joe Horn and Willie Roaf's Wife

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    In 2000, speculation ran rampant that Joe Horn had not only slept with Willie Roaf's wife, but had impregnated her and was the father of Roaf's six-week-old daughter.

    Both Roaf and Horn denied the rumors, and Horn told ESPN, "We make mistakes sometimes, but that is one mistake Joe Horn did not make. I did not sleep with Willie Roaf's wife."

7. Tony Parker and Erin Barry

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    The allegations went as follows:

    Amid the divorce between Eva Longoria and Tony Parker in November of 2010, Longoria told Mario Lopez of Extra that Parker had exchanged hundreds of texts with a teammate's wife.

    That teammate was allegedly Brent Barry, and his wife was Erin Barry. Adding fuel to the rumor was the fact that the Barrys were in the midst of finalizing their own divorce a month before that of Longoria and Parker.

    Parker denied that he had an affair with Erin Barry, noting that he had exchanged "flirtatious" texts with her, but nothing more.

    TMZ reported that sources indicated Parker had a "sexting" relationship with Barry, but nothing of a physical nature.

    Reports did not indicate whether Brent Barry ever took credit for the assist. It's possible, as you could have considered him a "swingman" during his NBA days.

6. Jeff McInnis and Phil Ford's Wife

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    In 1996, when Jeff McInnis was a point guard at North Carolina University, rumors swirled that he was having an affair with the wife of North Carolina assistant coach Phil Ford.

    McInnis denied the rumor, and claimed it only gained momentum because Duke fans caught wind of the rumor, and mocked McInnis during games about a potential rift between him and Ford.

5. Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson and Toni Braxton

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    Jason Kidd and Jimmy Jackson notoriously feuded during their time together in the mid-1990s. But one story that made the rounds—which both men adamantly denied—involved a dating switchover one evening.

    The story goes that Toni Braxton went to an Atlanta hotel to pick up her date for the evening, Jason Kidd, but winded up leaving with Jackson instead.

    Not an affair, mind you, but if the allegations were true, you could certainly accuse Jackson of playing the passing lanes and coming up with the steal.

4. Delonte West and LeBron's Mom

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    And now it just gets weird.

    This time last year, after the Cavs folded against the Celtics and LeBron James seemingly disappeared, rumors started floating around suggesting LeBron was distracted because teammate Delonte West was allegedly sleeping with his mother, Gloria James.

    The rumors were denied, and Deadspin wrote the best article I read about the rumor and how it became a huge story.

3. Karl Malone and Vanessa Bryant

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    For the full story, check out ESPN's coverage of the matter here.

    But the abridged version goes something like this:

    At a 2004 Lakers game, Karl Malone hit on Vanessa Bryant on numerous occasions. I particularly like the following exchange as reported by ESPN:

    "From there Malone asked Vanessa if she could keep a secret, and that he would like to tell her something. At which point Vanessa told him she was a married woman and he was a married man who was old enough to be her father. To which Malone replied, 'Oh, like your daddy?'"

    This is a case where I take serious issue with the Mailman's delivery.

2. John Harkes and Amy Wynalda

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    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Sometimes, the trysts are real.

    In 1998, rumors persisted that U.S. national soccer player John Harkes had an affair with Eric Wynalda's wife, Amy. Though Harkes has denied the rumors, Wynalda often maintained they were true, divorcing Amy in 2003.

    In February of 2010, the former coach of the U.S. national team, Steve Sampson, revealed that he had dropped Harkes from the 1998 national team because of the affair, and not because he refused to play a defensive role on the team and had leadership issues, as the coach had maintained at the time.

1. Rick Manning and Dennis Eckersley

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    1978 was a rough year for Eckersley. A day after finding out he had been traded on March 30, 1978, his wife Denise told him she no longer loved him, and by June, Eckersley would find out she had been having an affair with his best friend, Cleveland outfielder Rick Manning.

    Manning had suffered a vertebrae injury that season, and began sleeping with Eckersley's wife in Cleveland while the rest of the team, including Eckersley, was on the road.

    Manning and Denise Eckersley later married.

     

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