NBA Wife Spotlight: Taniesha Salmons Puts Faith and Family First!
Taniesha and her husband, John Salmons of the Milwaukee Bucks, realized the importance of having a relationship with God early during their college days. And, it’s her faith that gives her security in their marriage and the strength to raise their young children even when John is away during the long 82-game season.
Find out how this former civil litigation attorney selflessly put her career on hold in order to become the wife and mother that God called her to be!
Mirra Mirror: Taniesha, let’s start off with a little background information. Where were you born and raised?
Taniesha Salmons: I’m Jamaican…born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. I was 8 when we migrated to Brooklyn, New York for a better life, education, and more opportunities. And I must say, America did deliver for my immigrant family.
MM: Where did you attend college?
TS: I went to “THE U!!!” University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
MM: How did you and John meet?
TS: We met through a mutual friend in college. One morning, Tess, one of my best friends, and I were heading to class. We took a little break on “The Rock”, which is a central area on campus where you can just sit and hang out, and that was all she wrote! Vern, the mutual friend, was passing to go to class and never made it…. then John was passing to go to class and never made it! We were there from dawn til dusk that day… breakfast, lunch and dinner!
MM: How long have you and John been married and how many kids do you have?
TS: Come September, we will have been married for 5 years. We have two children. Josiah is 3 and Sarai is 18 months old.
MM: Tell us about your career.
TS: Well, right now I am a career mom and wife…the hardest, most rewarding jobs in the world. Prior to that, I was a civil litigation attorney. I did trial work, which means instituting lawsuits or defending against lawsuits from inception through settlement, court decision or trial. I worked on various non-criminal matters. I’m licensed to practice in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I went to school in Florida so that was the first (bar) exam I took. I moved to Pennsylvania to be with John (he was playing for the 76′ers at the time)…so I took the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars. He signed a new contract with Sacramento, later played with Chicago, and now Milwaukee. But, I’m not licensed in any of those states. Three is enough!
MM: Did you purposely put your career on hold to start a family?
TS: Yes! For as long as I can remember, I aspired to be an attorney! I was going to be the next Perry Mason! But, a job at the State Attorney’s Office out of law school was not going to be much help in paying back my school loans, so I took a job doing civil trial work. Anyway, after I accomplished that and worked for a while, I came to the next crossroad in my life and I just started feeling purposed to have a family. John and I weren’t even together at that time. He was my college sweetheart, but believe me, it wasn’t all sweet…raised eyebrow…haha! Anyway, God brought us back together (which is nothing short of miraculous because we were apart for about two years)… and I knew I had to come to terms with the fact that since this is the man God had for me, for a season in our lives, I would be a stay-at-home wife and mom. I can go back to work now if I wanted. Work isn’t going anywhere! My degrees and licenses aren’t going anywhere! But, my kids won’t be this age forever and I’m beyond blessed to even have the option. So, for now, the sole focus is family.
TS: I have to do that dance that so many other women do…care for my kids and still be a wife to my husband. It’s so easy to forget your husband with two kids running around. But, if you do that, your relationship is done! Only by the strength of God am I able to physically and mentally give to my family what they need.
MM: What do you feel is the biggest obstacle being married to someone in the spotlight?
TS: The spotlight aspect doesn’t really affect us because we still manage to move about with anonymity. Of course, John had to develop thick skin and gain Godly perspective in order to survive in the public eye. But for the most part, the kids and I are unaffected by the “spotlight.” What we are affected by is the time apart, physically and mentally, during the season.The season is long and tough! As soon as we get into a little routine, John has a road trip and the kids are asking me for daddy all day long. Or, in the case of his current team, we (the kids and I) are in our permanent home, and he’s in Milwaukee. That’s rough in too many ways to describe.
MM: What is the basis for you and John’s strong spiritual foundation?
TS: All I can say is JESUS ALL DAY! John is a more mature Christian than I am. And, I’m more than grateful that GOD is at the head of the head of my household! I couldn’t do it otherwise. I need Jesus to save me from myself! During college, we started our individual journeys to God. The death of my mother solidified that I needed to have a real and personal relationship with Jesus and the story continues…Steve and Arlene DeBartelaben of the organization Athletes in Action at UM, were instrumental in our growth throughout college and law school. The way I see it, people need to be accountable to more than each other. In that understanding, we have security in our marriage, all our relationships, and in our lives.
MM: What are the biggest stereotypes of NBA wives, and how are the wives that you know, shattering these myths?
TS: I think people think that being an NBA wife is a cushy life of luncheons and shopping. Yeah, girlfriends get together, and have lunch, and shop. But that’s true for every age and socioeconomic range. But, I work harder now at more meaningful things than I did when I was practicing law. I’m taking care of people…my family! What could be more impactful than that?! My husband, for all intents and purposes, is unavailable for at least 8 months of the year! It’s me, through the strength of Jesus of course, but it’s me! And all the wives that I know are like me…sacrificing their careers, taking care of their families, working outside of the home, starting their own businesses, authoring books, running charities…the list of efforts and accomplishments goes on and on!
NBA wife Jenine Howard, actress Aisha Hinds, and Taniesha Salmons
MM: What are your plans for life after the NBA?
TS: After basketball, probably even before, I will return to practicing. John has some business ventures he is currently exploring and we are praying for God to keep blessing all our endeavors!