The Teammates-to-Dating Pipeline in Women’s Sports Is Very Real—And Very Cute

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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“You have to be on your P’s and Q’s with her,” Bonner says of being Thomas’s teammate. “She’s gonna let you know [if you’re not], and sometimes I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m older. You will not talk to me like that.’ I know it comes from a good place, and she just wants to win. But we go at it a lot.” (When asked if Thomas has any of her own challenges playing alongside Bonner, Thomas just smiles and says, “No challenges.”)

Equally important to the health of the relationship is finding things to do together beyond going to work and talking about the game when you get home. Cava and Greco have other sports they like to play together when they’re not on the ice, like golf and pickleball. They love to attend athletic events together too, especially Toronto Maple Leafs games. Meanwhile, Bonner and Thomas really value date nights, which they say feel like an escape from the grind of their demanding basketball schedules.

“We have different hobbies and we’re very good at just taking our own space when we need it,” Seattle Reign FC player Jess Fishlock said on the In These Cleats podcast of her wife and teammate, Tziarra King. (The two married in December.) “l’ll just be like, ‘Listen, I honestly need a lid on it. Now I’m just gonna go over here [and] watch my shows’ or she’ll go up and do a puzzle or play with her plants.”

For Bonner, it’s not her first time being in a high-profile relationship with a teammate—she was previously married to her Mercury teammate Candice Dupree, and the couple has two children together. After their marriage ended, Bonner says she swore she would never again get involved with one of her teammates. When she and Thomas began dating, it took Bonner months to call it what it was. The two waited a year before going public with their relationship on social media.

“My first relationship was so public, I just wanted to enjoy my relationship with [Alyssa] for a little bit before we let the world know and everybody formed their opinion,” Bonner says. For her part, Thomas had always been very private when it came to her personal life. “For me to go public meant I was super comfortable with her,” Thomas says of the couple’s decision to reveal their relationship.

It could be weird to play with an ex or the ex of your current partner. And maybe it is at times, but queer women famously know how to stay friends with their exes, so everyone finds ways to coexist. Especially because when you show up to a game or practice, you’re showing up to your workplace. If you can’t leave your personal life at the door, you can’t effectively do your job.

“Of course players are [dating teammates],” Cava says. “But even if people have exes on teams, everyone is so professional. We know how to handle the situation and there’s no drama. You’re doing what you love, and it’s your job; when you get there, that’s strictly what we’re doing.”


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