Almost from the moment Lisa Bonder splashed onto the pro tennis circuit in 1982 as a 16-year-old, she made headlines. In '83 she beat Chris Evert Lloyd in the semis of a tournament in Tokyo, leading Evert Lloyd to gush, "She's lethal from the baseline." A year later Bonder finished No. 16 in the world (the highest year-end ranking of her career), and she soon developed a cult following in Japan, where she modeled clothes and drew adoring fans. "She was very good at a young age," says Carling Bassett-Seguso, another tennis starlet of that era. "She was also a dominant personality who was always out for an angle."
That became clear after Bonder, 36, filed suit earlier this month in L.A. Superior Court seeking $324,000 a month in child support from her ex-husband, billionaire financier Kirk Kerkorian. The $3.8-million-a-year request, a California record for a child-support case, was made on behalf of the couple's three-year-old daughter, Kira, and was backed up with a list of monthly expenses that included $1,500 to care for indoor plants and $14,000 for parties and play dates. Last Friday, Kerkorian, 84, whose net worth has been estimated at $6.4 billion, fired back with a breach-of-contract suit, saying Bonder had breached confidentiality papers that she'd signed at the time of their 1999 divorce.
The couple signed a lot of papers that year. Even by the unromantic prenuptial standards of the rich and famous, theirs was a dismal contract: They agreed beforehand to divorce after one month. Bonder's court papers say they married to confer "dignity and respect" on their relationship and on Kira, who was five months old at the time. Bonder also agreed never to seek spousal support. "The purpose of child support is not to pay for the life of the mother," says Dan Jaffe, a divorce lawyer in L.A. "There's no cap on child support in California, but I can't see this going into the stratosphere suggested in Bonder's demands. There's nothing in the law that says a child must live on a 10-acre estate just because the father does."
Bonder won't comment on the case, but whatever the outcome, she's playing for far higher stakes in the courtroom than she did on the courts. Though she made close to $500,000 before retiring in 1989, that sum didn't fulfill her aspirations. "As far as long-term goals," she told New Jersey's The Record in '86, "I want to become financially secure so that when I leave the sport I won't have to depend on anyone else."
Give It Away
On Jan. 11, at First Union Center, the 76ers gave away 5,000 Allen Iverson Celebriducks, rubber ducks made in the likeness of the Sixers guard. The fowl facsimile is only the latest entry in a bizarre array of promotional handouts.
Gee, Thanks a Lot
Last year the Marlins gave out rolls of duct tape. The Reds once handed out dish towels. Back in the '70s the Sixers picked up pieces of a backboard that Darryl Dawkins had destroyed with a dunk and later gave away the glass shards. But for sheer cheapness, look to the Heat, which earlier this season gave out a pretzel or a soda—but only to season-ticket holders.
Many giveaways have turned into cheap missiles in the hands of unruly fans. Free flyswatters (the Heat), trading cards (the Blackhawks), candy bars (the Yankees) and hockey pucks (the Penguins) have all rained down on athletes. No wonder teams no longer hold bat days.
The loose-necked figurines are popular giveaways. Some of the stranger dolls of the past year were of Lamar Odom, which the Clippers gave out one night during his eight-game suspension for a failed drug test; Eddie House, who's started only three games for the Heat this season; Kwame Brown, who's started only two games for the Wizards; and bearish Bills great Fred Smerlas, whose doll was adorned with lifelike chest hair.