The Washington Wizards selected Jan Vesely with the fifth pick of the 2011 NBA Draft on Thursday night. Then Vesely kissed his very attractive girlfriend as ESPN had its cameras trained on him, setting off the sort of Internet frenzy that produced articles on sites as diverse as the Huffington Post and International Business Times. Clearly, Jan Vesely's girlfriend, whoever she was, mattered.
(That video's from the NBA itself, by the way.)
This happens all the time with male athletes who just happen to be dating attractive women; just try Googling an athlete who is a household name and see if "girlfriend" auto-completes at the end of the search terms. Internet users (read: humans, especially those who have the money to have personal computers) have an insatiable curiosity about pretty people. That's why pieces like the legendary "Megan Fox wears panties, raises leg" story ran and run at the Huffington Post, why Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and other starlets dominate end-of-year search lists, and why a certain sort of Internet site is so damn popular. (You know what I mean.)
Dudes like looking at attractive women, duh. That's obvious, so obvious that ESPN's Fran Fraschilla approvingly mentioned Vesely's taste in women on air, and that ESPN later replayed Vesely's kiss in slow motion. (Woo, male gaze?)
After seeing Twitter blow up about the kiss, I started looking for the identity of Vesely's girlfriend, because I knew people would want to know and I thought I could find it. (I do Internet detective stuff, sometimes.) Through some Googling, which took me to Vesely's Wikipedia page and multiple articles about Vesely, I learned that his girlfriend was Czech (like Vesely), and plays basketball, as does Vesely's sister.
A bit more Googling brought me to the Wikipedia page for the Czech women's national basketball team, which, lo and behold, has an Eva who plays basketball with a Jana Vesela who I mistakenly thought was Vesely's sister: Eva Viteckova. So I tweeted that I was 98 percent sure Vesely's girlfriend was Eva Viteckova. I was the first person to tweet as much. And I got early confirmation from a major Jan Vesely fan in Belgrade, Serbia.
I was wrong.
See, Eva Viteckova being a tall Czech basketball player on the Czech national team means that she also occasionally plays for the Czech national team, and Viteckova did just that on Thursday, helping the Czechs down Turkey in the qualifying rounds of the European Championships on Thursday night. Viteckova had six points and four assists in 34 minutes, and because that game took place in Poland, as @mffl_x tweeted me to tell me, there's no way, barring teleportation, that Viteckova could have been in Newark to kiss Vesely. (And, well, Viteckova does not look quite like the woman Vesely kissed.)
So I scrapped my earlier guess that Viteckova was Vesely's gal, and tweeted as much; my new friend in Belgrade then clarified that she knew Vesely's girlfriend was named Eva, but might not have been the one who played for the Czech national team. She then gave me the name Eva Skutilova, which I dutifully tracked down before concluding with "99 percent" certainty that Jan Vesely's girlfriend was Eva Skutilova, another tall, attractive blond who happened to be a Czech basketball player.
Would you believe I was wrong again?
So I looked up Kodouskova, and found out that not only is she a tall, blond, and attractive Czech basketball player, she also, naturally, played with Eva Skutilova for Czech women's basketball team VS Praha in 2009-10. (The Czech women's basketball league is the ZBL; now you know.)
I still had doubts, and SB Nation's Mike Prada told me and wrote that Vesely's girlfriend is Eva Viteckova. Then the evidence began to mount: another person on Twitter told me Kodouskova's Facebook picture was her kissing Vesely, and a person in Serbia found the picture. Here it is, full size:
There's not a lot to go on there; even blown up, not much. So I was still on the hunt: I tried using image search engines to find the picture elsewhere and used Google Image Search to search for Eva Kodouskova, finding that picture twice in the first five results. Following that to Facebook itself, though, produces a link to a page that no longer exists.
That wasn't enough for me, so I welcomed the help from the the person who originally noted that Eva Viteckova couldn't be Vesely's girlfriend: he noted that Vesely had said his girlfriend, Eva, studied architecture, and that Eva Kodouskova had also mentioned studying architecture. He also mentioned that Kodouskova had coyly mentioned watching Vesely's career in another interview.
Bingo, right? That's too much circumstantial evidence to not be correct, right? It was at this point that I did the thing I should have done long before: I watched Vesely kiss his girlfriend, which I had somehow not done when it actually aired.
The woman in that video looks like Kodouskova, and that's because she is: the Washington Post's story on the Wizards' selection of Vesely uses the kiss he shared with Kodouskova as its lede, and refers to her as his longtime girlfriend. So, without question: Jan Vesely's girlfriend is Eva Kodouskova.
What does that matter? Not much, I suppose. Vesely himself seemed bemused by the hubbub about his kiss, and, as Dan Shanoff accurately assessed, Kodouskova is very much "the Pippa Middleton of the NBA Draft," an ancillary figure who had a bit part in a bigger event and ended up being one of the most memorable parts of it.
But to some, Kodouskova's name doesn't matter; to some, it's the mere fact that Jan Vesely's girlfriend is attractive that does. That doesn't sit well with me, because she's a person, too, one who attended Chaparral High School in Kansas and drew the cover image for a guide book (PDF) for the foreign exchange program that sent her there. Oh, and she's a "very nice young lady." I wish her and Vesely the best.
I never wanted to know who Jan Vesely's girlfriend was because I thought she was attractive (though, admittedly, she is) and needed to know her name; I wanted to know because I knew other people wanted to know, and because I like learning and knowing things. (Ask my mom; I've always been this weird.) And with the help of @LaraRomana, @simonchun, @Jamal99, @LeaveArtemis, and especially @mffl_x, I got to do that on Thursday night.
So, yeah, Jan Vesely's girlfriend is Eva Kodouskova. You and I now know that. But, at least for me, knowing that really isn't the point.