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Terrence Ross says the NBA's 'groupie' culture is a thing of the past

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie
NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors
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Feb 21, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Cavaliers 98-91. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

It is a generally agreed upon fact that many people want to take money from professional athletes. This group can include legitimate entrepreneurs, but when we speak of them, it's usually about people with no interest in the athletes' well-being. They just want to make a buck off those who have the salaries to support it.

Historically, one subset has included young women looking for relationships in which they can receive gifts (both large and small), child support, and virtually anything else that allows them to provide for themselves. In the classic example, this "groupie" culture involves dozens of women simply hanging around team hotels and arenas in the hopes of catching a player's eye. It's believed to be widespread enough that events such as the league's rookie transition program teach players how to stay mindful of when people are taking advantage of their wealth.

Or maybe it's not such an issue anymore. In an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit (via Raptors Republic), second-year Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross says that he has never encountered such a thing up to this point in his NBA career:

Q: How do you best avoid the women who hang out in hotel lobbies waiting for NBA players (gold-diggers). Did any of the vets advise you in this matter?

A: That’s a myth…that’s never happened. There’s so much security now.

I suppose it's possible that Ross is the most oblivious man in the world (or trying to cover up an insane amount of tabloid behavior), but chances are he's giving an accurate picture of the situation. While his answer does not mean there are no women who gravitate toward NBA athletes in public (such as when players go to clubs), it does suggest that the image of women lurking in hotels waiting to pounce on men like predators is not true, if it ever existed to that extent at all.

Whether this reality is due to security or some other change is open to debate. Ross could be right — teams do far more to protect their players than they ever did in the past. On the other hand, the world of professional sports can be wildly misogynistic, so it could be that the extent of groupie activity was always exaggerated. Perhaps the players were always more complicit in seeking out these supposed temptresses than they ever cared to admit.

Whatever the case, Ross deserves credit for not perpetuating this myth any longer than necessary. Now, if only we can figure out a way to stop guys from getting athletes to invest in their restaurants.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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