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Maria Sharapova, Sasha Vujacic have broken up

Maria Sharapova and Sasha Vujacic have called off their engagement and broken up.

Italian publication La Gazetta dello Sport first reported the news that the star tennis player and struggling basketball player have separated. The two began dating in 2010 and got engaged later that year, but they have been broken up for a few months, Sharapova confirmed on Friday.

“It’s been since the end of spring actually,” Sharapova told reporters. “I was waiting for someone to actually ask me that question, but nobody did directly.”

Vujacic also confirmed the news today from training camp with his Turkish team Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Vujacic hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2010-2011 season. He played six seasons with the Lakers after being drafted by the team in 2004. He was traded to the Nets in December 2010 and finished the season with the club. He played last year in Turkey, and this will be his second season abroad. His time out of the country contributed to problems between the couple; Sharapova says he wasn’t home for 10 months.

While Vujacic’s career is struggling, Sharapova’s is thriving. The Russian tennis player has reached the finals in three of the last five grand slam events, and she won at the French Open to give her the career grand slam. She’s been raking in the endorsement deals, and even got into the candy business last week.

Now that the two are over, you know there will be plenty of men eager to step in with attempts to woo Sharapova. No word if Novak Djokovic would be interested given all the flirting they’ve done.

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Sasha Vujacic Engaged to Maria Sharapova

According to a TMZ report, Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova are engaged.  For some reason, I can’t stand Sasha Vujacic.  I got tired of hearing about him in the 2007 NBA playoffs and it kind of went downhill from there.  He’s not even good.  Plus, he let Chris Paul completely punk him out and get in his head because Paul was being such a meanie.

However, this engagement doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  Call me crazy, but I’m not a Sharapova guy.  I just don’t see the hotness.  I feel bad that some creep once photographed her crotch, but I can’t understand the hype.  That being said, she’s still probably too good for Sasha.  For those of you who are Sharapova guys (or gals), here are some pictures of Sasha Vujacic’s new fiancee.

MARIA SHARAPOVA PICTURES

Kobe Bryant: Credit Aldous Snow for Sasha Vujacic’s Success

Most of the time Kobe Bryant is pretty hard-nosed and serious. There are some moments though when Kobe takes off the game face and actually plays around, like when he does commercials or post-game interviews. Take for instance Kobe’s comments after the Game 7 win against Houston. Why did sharpshooter Sasha Vujacic have a good game (9 points on 4-7 shooting)? Kobe pulled out the Forgetting Sarah Marshall Aldous Snow card to explain:

Thanks to the Kamenetzky bros, who heard Kobe say that at his post-game press conference and posted the Kobe/Sasha Vujacic video. It never really occurred to me when I was watching the Lakers that Sasha resembled Russell Brand but I definitely see it now. I guess if were a guy like Kobe who likes Sasha and is around him all the time that might have caught my eye. If you ask me, all it really takes is a European dude with long hair and stubble to resemble Vujacic.

Sasha Vujacic Whines Chris Paul Is Picking on Him

So the Lakers lost to the Hornets on Tuesday as David West threw up a career game and Chris Paul was his usual stellar self. In addition to balling it up on the court, CP3 did a bang-up job of trash-talking. Paul apparently was in the head of Laker sharpshooter Sasha Vujacic who got distracted and into foul trouble.

Vujacic’s unique resume … now includes being called by Paul a five-letter word that starts with “B.”

That’s what Vujacic said Paul called him late in New Orleans’ victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night.

For yelling back at Paul – even though Vujacic insisted all he said was: “What did you say?!” – Vujacic got a technical foul from referee Joey Crawford.

Vujacic committed five fouls in 10 and a half minutes of action. Not exactly an exemplary game for “The Machine,” who clearly let CP3 get to him. The worst part of this story might be just what one of the commenters said — if Vujacic is bringing it up to the press, he must really be what Paul is calling him. Hey, nobody said it was all peaches out there on the court and I’ve always said it’s best to let your game do the talking. Maybe Vujacic learned the lesson.

Europe Will Never Threaten the NBA

I know the word “never” sounds pretty absolute, but I’m extremely confident that the European game won’t threaten the health of the NBA. Sure Brandon Jennings electing to play pro ball in Italy instead of going to college at Arizona was a major turning point, and Josh Childress jumping to a Greek team was a momentous move, but European Leagues will never truly challenge the NBA. The major factor that’s allowed several players to make the move across the Atlantic this off-season is the devalued dollar compared to the Euro. Now what used to be a three-year $10 million offer in Europe has become a $15 million offer because of the exchange rate. Suddenly that 3:2 ratio is looking pretty darn appealing.

Thing is though, basketball has to absolutely explode in popularity to soccer-like levels in order for the salaries to ever become competitive with what the NBA can offer its top players. You think they could ever put together contract offers like what Gilbert just signed for with Washington? Think they could scrap together a max deal for 75 million euros? Sure they can steal Josh Childress in Greece for the equivalent of $20 million (and pay for his Greek taxes), but they can’t steal our top-level talent — not until basketball seriously starts booming in Europe. And heck, if a team wants a player that badly in the NBA, they’ll just ramp up their offer. Just ask the Lakers and Sasha Vujacic who agreed on a thee-year $15 million deal, quashing rumors that he might go play Euro ball. So guys might jump shit here-and-there, but fear not, even the exchange rate can’t overtake the popularity and dollars we can pay our prime talent over here.