At one point, Kris Humphries was one of the NBA’s most-hated players. Because he married Kim Kardashian, I guess. I’m not sure his critics could articulate precisely why they loathed him.
Now, two years after last playing in the NBA, Humphries is retiring.
He announced his decision in The Players’ Tribune, also elaborating on his relationship with Kardashian:
Look, I should have known what I was getting into. I was definitely naive about how much my life was going to change. But the one thing that really bothers me is whenever people say that my marriage was fake.
There’s definitely a lot about that world that is not entirely real. But our actual relationship was 100% real. When it was clear that it wasn’t working … what can I say? It sucked. It’s never easy to go through the embarrassment of something like that — with your friends, with your family…. But when it plays out so publicly, in front of the world, it’s a whole other level. It was brutal.
I didn’t know how to handle it, because I never thought I was going to be famous in that way. I remember having this moment when I was getting booed so hard in Philly, and I thought to myself, “Why exactly are they booing me, though? Is it just because I’m That Guy from TV? Do they think I was trying to be famous? Is it because they think I disrespected the game of basketball?”
The last one killed me, because all I’ve ever wanted to be known for was basketball.
Humphries’ playing style was built for anonymity. He was a rebounding journeyman who spent 13 seasons with the Jazz, Raptors, Mavericks, Nets, Celtics, Wizards, Suns and Hawks.
But he had a knack for drawing attention.
As a kid, he swam faster than Michael Phelps. As he shifted attention to basketball, he tried to take on Michael Jordan’s persona (as detailed in his essay) and came across like a jerk. Then, he hooked up with Kardashian.
Their 72-day marriage will be the lasting memory of his career. It’s what exposed him to a far wider audience.
Maybe that’s not what he wanted, and he still had a successfully long NBA career. But that’s what he got.