Special to Page 2
Ever since sports met showbiz, athletes have dated entertainers.
Jack Dempsey married an actress, Estelle Taylor, back in 1925. Joltin' Joe and Marilyn became mythic in the 1950s. Page 2 has been inspired covering the great love stories of our own age, the epic romances of couples such as Tyra Banks and Chris Webber, Halle Berry and David Justice, or Madonna and Jose Canseco. Or Madonna and Dennis Rodman. Or Madonna and Brian Shaw. Or Madonna and well, we're running out of time here, so
But maybe the right romantic partner does make a difference in an athlete's career. Would Wayne Gretzky really have been as great on the ice without Janet Jones in his life? If Mike Tyson had married a nice girl instead of an emasculating shrew like Robin Givens, would he have avoided self-destruction?
The answers are "yes" and "no," of course. But who cares? The point is simply making jokes about people far more beautiful, rich and famous than we can ever hope to be.
That's why we undertook a study of the latest round of celebrity/jock romances. We wanted to know who has truly found a soul mate and who just hears a siren song.
From best to worst, then, here is how they grade out:
CELEBRITY: Bridget Moynahan
ATHLETE: Tom Brady
PROS: Before meeting Bridget, Brady was backing up Drew Bledsoe. Since Tom and Bridget started dating, Brady has become well, quite frankly, all you need. If the New York Jets want to address their QB crisis, they should quit screwing around with Vinny Testaverde and see whether they can get Moynihan to date Brooks Bollinger.
CONS: Not many. Although her role as "generic love interest" in the latest Nicolas Cage movie could have been written better.
With Bridget by his side, Brady can walk on water, heal the sick and raise the dead. He could even make Kevin Federline a star.
CELEBRITY: Eva Longoria
ATHLETE: Tony Parker
PROS: Unlike most athlete-dating actresses, Longoria was a fan of the team before she met the player. She grew up a Spurs fan in Corpus Christi, Texas. You have to love a woman who stays that true to her home team.
CONS: Recently seen on a talk show letting Tommy Lee lick her face. She might have caught something.
Our big worry is that Parker might leave the Spurs, especially for a Western Conference rival. Out of team loyalty, Longoria would be forced to dump him and hook up with Manu Ginobili. Nobody wants to see that.
CELEBRITY: Sheryl Crow
ATHLETE: Lance Armstrong
PROS: Hotter than Georgia asphalt. And one of the best female rock artists ever.
CONS: Sometimes talks politics when she's better off singing.
We have high hopes for these two. Armstrong has proven in the Pyrenees and Alps that he can endure horrific boredom and suffering. Exactly what it takes to succeed as a husband.
CELEBRITY: LaLa Vasquez
ATHLETE: Carmelo Anthony
PROS: They genuinely seem to be in love.
CONS: Professional jealously could ruin it. 'Melo will be a megastar long after LaLa is the answer to a trivia question.