There's a New York Magazine article out on the perks and challenges of being a basketball wife, and it's required reading as long as you can get through sentences like these without killing yourself:
"I'm not really a handbag person anymore," says Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa. "I've collected Birkin bags, Chanel 2.55 jumbo flap bags, and the Marc Jacobs Stephen Sprouse collection for Louis Vuitton since I was a teenager. But now, as they say, everyone and their mom is buying a Birkin or a regular size 2.55 bag in black, taupe, or beige. I've been sticking to a magenta suede Proenza Schouler bag."
There's a lot of that. But there's one quote that everyone has zoomed in on, because it reinforces everything we'd like to believe about the woman who married an NBA player when she was in high school, stuck with him through a cheating scandal (with an enormous new diamond on her finger), and is in the middle of a public reconciliation after filing for divorce. Here's the quote:
"I certainly would not want to be married to somebody that can't win championships. If you're sacrificing time away from my family and myself for the benefit of winning championships, then winning a championship should happen every single year."
Sounds bad! She's taking shit for it, even to the point where she's had to defend the quote. But that's a totally legitimate, supportive thing to say. You've got a loved one who devotes nine months of the year to their job—wouldn't you want that long season to come to something? Wouldn't you want their time and effort to lead to professional success? It's not that you're worthless if you don't win a ring—it's that a ring is a reward equal to the sacrifice.
What's worse than pillorying Vanessa Bryant for the wrong reasons is that we're all missing a chance to do it for the right ones. Later in the article, she address rumors that she and fellow (former) Laker wife Khloe Kardashian have beef. She takes the question, and runs with it:
"Everything is false," she says. "Khloé was at my 29th birthday. I don't get involved in the drama. I've been with Kobe since I was 17, so I've seen plenty of players, and plenty of wives, come and go. It wouldn't benefit me whatsoever to have an issue with any of them, whether they were a girlfriend, or a wife, a person-of-a-month, or … you know. And I think that's why the Lakers as an organization give me the access that I have, that other wives don't have." She talks about the tunnel on the way to the locker room that she stands in to give Kobe a kiss after games, the one that cameras always pan to. "If you notice, I am the only one allowed in that tunnel," says Bryant.
First off: "It wouldn't benefit" her to not get along with someone? That's not how normal people think, or talk. Normal people don't view interpersonal relationships through the lens of their own brand strength. Normal people don't see everything in terms of PR strategy. If there once was a Vanessa Bryant, she's long dead, consumed by a body-snatching Vanessa Bryant™ that now speaks through her slackened maw.
But it's where Bryant takes her failed attempt at being a member of the human race that really shines. She turns it into a brag about how she's top Lakers wife, a paragon of virtue lifted from a pit of shrieking harpies by the organization, which can't fail to recognize how much more worthy she is than those other tramps. If you notice, I am the only one allowed in that tunnel. Nope, didn't notice, but that's because the rest of us aren't obsessed with meaningless brownie points handed out by the Lakers, most likely just to keep you happy so you don't go blabbing about all the other hotel employees your husband bukkaked. But to Vanessa Bryant, life is nothing but a competition, and a series of chances for the queen bee to shit on the drones.