Admit it, there’s no greater spectator sport than witnessing the hookups, the breakups and the oh-so-cute offspring of sports stars and their bombshell, celebrity mates. Find out who ranks (from 0 to 100) as the biggest players of 2009, and which sport ultimately reigns supreme:
MVP: Talk about a touchdown. This year, the Colts’ wide receiver Hank Baskett had more than his 15 minutes of fame when he married former Girls Next Door star Kendra Wilkinson, becoming the costar of her E! reality TV show Kendra. The couple’s June 27 nuptials at the Playboy Mansion were only surpassed by the televised birth of their son, Henry Randall Baskett IV (aka Lil’ Hank) on Dec. 11. While his professional sports career is less storied than his off-field antics, for dating, marrying and squiring a son with Wilkinson, Basket gets 100 in our ratings scale.
Honorable Mention: Tom Brady sure knows how to play the field. The New England Patriots quarterback wed Gisele Bündchen on Feb. 26 in Santa Monica, and the newlyweds welcomed son Benjamin, on Dec. 8. He joked, “No Sundays,” when Bündchen asked him when she could give birth. Good thing she delivered on a weekday, enabling Brady to make it to the playoffs and earning him 75 points.
Sidelined: Dallas Cowboys star Tony Romo blind-sided Jessica Simpson, splitting up with the starlet a day before her 29th birthday, and earning the NFL quarterback a negative 10 on our scale. At first their romance seemed like a touchdown as they vacationed together and survived criticism from rabid Cowboys fans, who considered Simpson bad luck for her beau’s team. But their surprise split sacked the score. No word yet on what Simpson did with all those pink No. 9 jerseys.
MVP: It’s been romance from day one between NBA player Marko Jaric and Victoria’s Secret supermodel Adriana Lima. The two were secretly wed on Valentine’s Day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after the Memphis Grizzlies hot shot proposed to the Brazilian beauty on her birthday in June ’08. The two had a baby girl, appropriately named Valentina, on Nov. 15, earning Jaric a score of 100.
Honorable Mention: Lamar Odom doesn’t waste any time on or off the court. The Los Angeles Laker raced to the altar with reality TV star Khloe Kardashian on Sept. 27, a month after they first met. Now with rumors swirling of Khloe’s pregnancy, teased in the season finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Odom is proving he sure knows how to shoot and score. The All-Star, who was once named the Player of the Year by Parade Magazine, might be the fastest-moving player in this game of love, earning him 90 points.
Sidelined: Tony Parker and Desperate Housewives‘ Eva Longoria have been going strong since their extravagant French wedding in 2007 – earning him a solid 30 points – but it’ll take a baby to make a real splash in this celebrity pool!
MVP: Serial player Alex Rodriguez covered all the bases this year, enjoying his best season and helping lead the New York Yankees to a World Series victory. And he also resisted striking out with Nine star Kate Hudson – that is until the season was over. Rodriguez was linked last year to Madonna, while Hudson had dated sports star Lance Armstrong. The two have reportedly split, earning A-Rod 70 points, not bad for a third-baseman.
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter, who has played the dating game with everyone from Mariah Carey to Jessicas Biel and Alba, was rumored to have already proposed to his girlfriend Minka Kelly, star of TV’s Friday Night Lights. Will he really pop the question in 2010? As long as he remains coy about the relationship we may never know. For now, he gets a 65 for making it to the one-year mark.
MVP: It’s a slap shot for NHL player Mike Fisher, who got engaged to country superstar Carrie Underwood just before Christmas. The alternative captain of the Ottawa Senators has been dating the American Idol winner since 2008, after the couple met at one of her concerts in Ottawa. “Thank you #12,” she wrote in the liner notes of her new CD, Play On, referring to his jersey number. Fisher gets an 85 for scoring the longest relationship Underwood has had – as well as a yes to his proposal.
Honorable Mention: Hilary Duff has become a ringside fixture at boyfriend and Ottawa Senators Mike Comrie’s hockey games. And while there have been rumors of an engagement, there has been no ring spotted on Duff’s finger just yet. Still, Comrie (currently out sick for the season) gets a 55 for sticking with his sweetheart since ’07.
So, which group of athletic supporters keeps the best company? Football fans, by far! The players’ A-list wives and bundles of joy snag headlines while they take their teams to the top. Even being married to a basketball player doesn’t sway Khloe Kardashian, who earlier this year said, “It’s easier to date a football player for sure. Football players have one game a week, and they practice every day, but they’re all at home.” She should know, sister Kim makes it work with Reggie Bush. Guess the rest of the gals need to hit the road to keep their honeys!