Christy Fernandez (Ex-wife of Glen Rice, former LA Laker and Miami Heat player)
How they met:
Weekend that changed his life came inPhoenixtwo years ago, when Rice was still with theMiami Heat, which had drafted him No. 4 overall in 1989 and for which he averaged 19.3 points in six seasons. The story begins, as usual, with Rice’s jump shot, which he used to win the three-point shooting contest. When Rice returned toMiami, teammateMatt Geigerthrew a party to celebrate. It was there that Rice met Cristina Fernandez, a high school special-education teacher. “I told the guys she was going to be my girlfriend,” Rice says. But he wasn’t nearly as bold around Fernandez. He was so shy that he had to send teammate Kevin Gamble over to ask, on his behalf, if Fernandez would like to dance.
She agreed to dance, but she didn’t want anything else to do with Rice, who was separated from his wife and on his way to a divorce. But after several three- and four-hour phone conversations, Fernandez agreed to go out with him. On the day they were to have their first date, Rice scored a career-high 56 points against theOrlando Magic. “I had to do something to impress her,” he says.
Before long Fernandez saw that Rice wasn’t the stereotypical self-absorbed athlete, but surprisingly quiet and conservative. She introduced him to sushi, Spanish and salsa dancing. And she consoled him on Nov. 3, 1995—the day after Rice says Heat president and coachPat Rileytold him not to pay any attention to trade rumors—whenRileycalled to inform him that he had been dealt toCharlottewithGeigerand guardKhalid Reevesforcenter Alonzo Mourningand two other players. “I was on my way to practice when I got the call,” Rice says. “I just went back inside, sat down on my living room floor and cried.”
The tears were over moving away from his sons, Glen Jr., now 6, and G’mitri, 4, of whom his ex-wife, Tracey, has primary custody.