The byproduct of the NBA lifestyle are stories such as Wilt Chamberlain sleeping with 20,000 women, Gary Payton having two sons, who are five months apart, bearing his name, or Shawn Kemp fathering seven children with six different women. According to The Glove, in most cases, scenarios like these are inevitable.
"You're having fun"
What each of the aforementioned guys did on the court still overshadows their lifestyle choices. However, the same can't be said about Calvin Murphy. Despite being the Hall of Famer, Cal, who spent most of his career with the Rockets, is better known for fathering the most children out of any former NBA player -- 14 with 9 different women.
That's my OG. I asked him about that, he said, 'Hey, I was having fun.' That is what it is. You're having fun.
Gary Payton, DJ Vlad
"When you're so popular, during that time, what's gonna happen?" Payton continued. "A lot of women are gonna come at you. So during that time, protection and all that old stuff wasn't in our minds. We would just have fun and do what we have to do and we didn't have to worry about getting AIDS or all this other stuff, but it was happening."
Magic Johnson's situation sounded the alarm
Having fun didn't come without consequences, and Magic Johnson was the first NBA player to face them. On November 7, 1991, the Lakers superstar announced he had been diagnosed with HIV, forcing him to retire. According to The Glove, that was an eye-opening moment for everyone within the NBA brotherhood.
You start thinking about, 'Woo, this is real.' And then you start reading up on everything, and then you start understanding how it'd be unsafe.
Gary Payton, DJ Vlad
Magic's situation caused a lot of self-reflection within the community, making individuals more careful about how they approach their off-court activities. But for many of them, especially for guys who came up from nothing, the instant popularity and all the benefits that come with it, including the women, was too tempting to simply give it up. So despite being more aware of the safety issues, most guys continued making the most out of their popularity.
"It was just a thing that; you grew up, you ain't had that many women that was gonna say you was fine," GP said. "It was just that type of situation, and when you get a bad one and keep getting bad ones, you was like, 'Man, I can't turn that down.' It's like you can't turn it down."
The short-term pleasures resulted in long-term commitments. But according to Payton, that's just the way things were back then. And to be fair, they are still happening today, especially in the entertainment industry -- NBA is no different.
"It is what it is," The Glove said. "We were like that. Nobody else was different. Everybody was the same. We was in Oakland, we didn't see a bad one, we didn't see that. We would probably see one bad girl, she probably had a boyfriend already, and we couldn't get her. But when we're getting approached, we see 10,15 of them, and they're giving it to you. So it was just one of them things."