A Basketball Marriage

by Mark Rosenberg

Nowadays, it is very common for a husband and wife to both pursue professional careers. Lynx guard Susan King Borchardt and her husband Curtis, however, are in a league by themselves.

The two Stanford alums share much in common, from a love of basketball to a love of the outdoors, but hold one distinction they do not share with anyone: the couple is the first husband/wife duo to play in the NBA and WNBA, respectively.

Curtis was the 18th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft and has now spent three seasons with the Utah Jazz. The 7-0 center appeared in just 66 games as a Cardinal, but finished his collegiate career ranked second on the school’s all-time blocked shot list.

Susan grew up in Richfield, Minn., and was named the 2000 Minnesota Miss Basketball after a stellar high school career at the Academy of Holy Angels. In five seasons at Stanford, she appeared in 101 games while averaging over eight points and two assists.

Although multiple stress fractures to his right foot forced Curtis to spend more time in the Stanford training room than on the court, it was there that he met his future wife. Susan spent much of her freshman and sophomore seasons recovering from a torn ACL, and the couple’s shared goals and similar obstacles drew them to each other.

“We both always seem to understand what the other is going through,” Curtis said. “With both of us coming off pretty serious injuries when we first met each other, we were able to help each other through that. We feel like we’re always on the same level or wavelength.”

Helping one another out has become a theme of the relationship, as both Curtis and Susan are genuinely committed to their spouse’s professional success as well as their own. The two train together regularly, and Curtis even assumed the role of an agent to help Susan get into training camp this spring.

“I really didn’t know at the end of the year what I wanted to do,” Susan said. “I didn’t do any of the draft camps after the college season was over. I finally decided that if I had a chance to go to somebody’s training camp, that was something I really wanted to do. He called some of the GM’s to see if there was a chance to get into a camp somewhere. It just worked out last minute that I was able to come to Minnesota, and I’m so glad it did. It’s been a great opportunity and I’m thankful to still be here.”

Although everything the couple does has the tendency to revolve around basketball, they still find plenty of time in their busy schedules to have a little fun with the game that has shaped their marriage.

“We play a lot of full-court one-on-one,” Susan says, and despite Curtis’ 17-inch height advantage, he readily admits that she has “won her fair share of games.”

Curtis also admits that he’s not one to ever let Susan win, either.

“We’re both pretty competitive in everything we do, and we’re both very poor losers,” he says. “I know she’s mad when she starts biting her tongue and won’t talk to me. We both like to rub things in a little bit, but we always make up in the end.”

Although the rigors of a professional basketball schedule aren’t necessarily conducive to relationship-building, now that Susan is with the Lynx the couple finds that they have more time for those heated one-on-one battles than ever before.

“It’s much better now that my season is his offseason and vice versa,” she says. “Now we can be with each other more and see each other play more. When I was at Stanford and he was in Utah, we hardly ever saw each other.”

The perks of having a professional-basketball-playing spouse, it seems, don’t stop there.

“I don’t think too many guys in the NBA have wives that will go out and rebound for them,” Curtis says, “and I would imagine that not too many WNBA players have a seven-foot-tall husband to train with, either.”

All joking aside, though, the couple seems to have found that perfect balance of being able to pursue their dreams while still growing a healthy marriage.

“It’s hard to not be together all the time,” Susan says, “but it’s great that we’re both able to do what we love.”