NBA baller Doug Christie and his wife, Jackie, have made a name for themselves in sports, and have a show, book and film to show for it.
ESSENCE.com: Has your wife ever had to check you on being flirtatious?
DC: No, never. We are best friends and my wife knows that I only have eyes for her. I don't have anything against other women, but I have my queen and inside when you truly know you have the best, then you really don't want the rest.
ESSENCE.com: What is your philosophy on cheating?
JC: If that’s what you need or want, then pack your stuff and get the hell out. I’m going to be frank; it’s just not happening. If cheating comes into the picture, then it’s over. We’re not going to be together. Period. I don’t have any kind of tolerance when it comes to infidelity. I’m not in the relationship for any other reason except knowing that we share a mutual respect for one another. It really boils my blood to know that cheating destroys relationships. Frankly, I’m not even tempted to cheat and I see handsome guys all the time. We even hire models sometimes for our company. And Doug's not dead, so I’m sure he sees women. Sometimes I ask him, ‘Do you think she’s pretty? Is she your flavor?’ But he usually responds, ‘I got what I want.’
DC: For me, cheating is not an option. I can’t imagine a scenario where my wife cheats and we remain together and vice versa. People look at cheating and sex like it's no big thing. But you have to ask yourself, ‘Am I worth more than that?’ You have to have more self worth than just having sex with multiple partners. I want my family and whatever I or Jackie need to do to keep our family together, we’re willing to do.
ESSENCE.com: After more than 15 years in the NBA, do you think the organization supports committed relationships and families?
DC: As long as the player is fulfilling his duties as a commodity, the NBA stands behind him. Therefore, they’re somewhat supportive of families. But on a larger scale, it’s about making money. Sometimes the two don’t mix and when they don’t, you’ll see that. I think we are an example of not mixing.
JC: A lot of wives and people don’t know this but the basketball teams have a way with asking the players to attend events alone. Doug might want me there and I might want to be there, but if they say no, then it’s no. That’s the only time I feel vulnerable—when someone tries to stop me from being with my husband. Other than that, the NBA is supportive of the fact that these men are commodities and make money for the organization. But the attitude is more like, 'If you have a relationship and a family, that’s great, but keep it away. All we want you to do is be the stud that we’re promoting you to be. Now, go on out there and be this puppet!'
ESSENCE.com: The tales about female groupies staking out the hotels of the athletes in hopes of a secret rendezvous are crazy. When it comes to philandering, can the NBA clean up its image?
JC: The problem is not the women outside of basketball, it’s the women who are hired to work with the teams. That’s the new style of granting females access to the players—employing them. So they’re not only traveling with the team, they’re also staying in the hotels, making excuses to deliver players’ paperwork and driving them places. Often, that job turns into flings, which is totally a destruction of the family values. Unfortunately, a lot these guys haven’t grown up seeing a better example of how they should be conducting themselves so they don’t know how to handle the attention.
ESSENCE.com: What’s the craziest rumor you two have heard about yourselves?
DC: Probably the one about me choking, baby…
JC: Oh yeah, supposedly Doug was in a restaurant choking on a bone, but I refused to let the female nurse that arrived save his life.
ESSENCE.com: (Laugh) And yet, miraculously he’s still alive! What things have you found to be most beneficial in keeping your 12-year love solid as a rock?
DC: Staying committed to respecting one another and having self-respect. But ultimately, staying committed to the commitment is first and foremost. Before I met Jackie, I wasn't a faithful person. But I've been faithful to my wife and will always be because she's everything to me—she is my one and only. It's a beautiful thing.
JC: Oh, you just made my day! As far as making it work, I would say communication and patience is key. It’s something we had to learn how to do. We're far from perfect, but we love and respect each other and want other Black couples to do the same because we can change and be different. In our community, we have that strong Black love but it’s not publicized. So we have to do it ourselves by living and being that example.