All I can say is WOW…I just previewed the first episode of Basketball Wives, the new reality series on VH1 executive produced by Shaunie O’Neal (former wife of NBA star, Shaquille O’Neal) and all I can say is “WOW”. Now I will admit that my guilty pleasure is the Housewives series on Bravo; I watch them all Orange County, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta…it’s freaking entertaining and downright hilarious. So I have come into watching Basketball Wives with a preconceived notion on what to expect…and it was all that I thought it was going to be and much more. As I watched it I had to take some notes so can I can remember all of the foolishness that I endured for 20+ minutes. I want to introduce you to all of the players, I think that is the best way to get you prepared for the premiere Sunday, April 11 at 10:00 ET/PT.

Let’s start with Shaunie “Momma” O’Neal.  As we all know Shaunie was married to Shaq, their on-again off-again married was marred by rumors and incidents of infidelity. Shaunie says that her goal with the series is to shed light onto the complex lives of the women who stand beside larger-than-life professional athletes and show the world that it’s not all glitz and glamour as it may seem. Let’s just be real here for a minute, I don’t know about you but the only people who seem to think that the relationships with these professional athletes is all glitz and glamour is the women who get into these relationships.  Trust me, Biggie taught us years ago that ‘more money, more problems’.  Shaunie comes across as Queen Bee sitting on her throne as these women flock to her for advice on their basketball playing husbands, baby-daddies, ex-fiancés, fiancés, whatever they call them. She is definitely the momma-figure in these episodes, and believes that they all should stick together because this is an important and hectic sorority that they all are a part of. Well…I don’t know about that but the only thing that makes them different from all of the millions of other married women around the world is the professional that these men have, which I am inclined to believe brainwashes these women to believe that their lives and families can rival that of Kings and Queens of countries near and far.

Then there’s Royce. She is the mother of Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard’s son, though you will never hear that mentioned on the show since Howard has gotten a court injunction that prohibits her from the mentioning his name. Coming into this Royce has so many strikes against her.  The other women believe that she is the quintessential stereotypical groupie, and I agree with them. Royce is a dancer (and I use that term loosely, because being from the home of the famous Magic City I call it something else…if you know what I mean) who danced for both the Magic and the Heat and started her own Burlesque Dance Company called Fantashique which travels all over Florida. I haven’t really made up my mind about Royce because one minute she’s showing her ass and dropping it like it’s hot at a pool party hosted by Terrell Owens, or on a stripper pole at a Miami nightclub, and the next she’s crying talking about she wants to go home because nobody likes her.  To be a 29-year-old mother this lil’ girl has got some serious growing up to do. And what I believe amazes me so much is that she doesn’t understand why the other women don’t like her, or that many others label her as a ‘Gold Digger’. C’mon Son! At the end of the first episode the wives ambushed Royce for raunchy dancing at the party and informed her that her behavior is a reflection of all of them not just her. 

Now on to Jennifer, the wife of basketball player, Eric Williams.  Now this one I like.  Even though her marriage is falling apart at every corner she seems to be the most down to earth, the one whose head isn’t stuck so far in the clouds. Jennifer is not just sitting at home watching soaps and eating bon-bons; she’s a high-end real estate agent and the owner of an upscale women’s fitness center, Flirty Girl Fitness.  Now the relationship with Jennifer and her husband Eric is a bit, how should I say, dysfunctional.  Jennifer doesn’t not call Eric her husband out in public and he has the ‘rule’ that when he’s on the road, he’s gone on the road, but when he’s home, he’s home with her.  Now I simply have to shake my head at that, because all it does is show me that here’s a successful woman who’s traded in her self-respect for a lifetime supply of Gucci and Jimmy Choos. As the series progresses we get to learn more about Jennifer and Eric and what they are going to do about this dysfunction that they are living in.

Suzie Ketcham is the former wife of basketball player Michael Olowokondi, who is a bonafied party-girl and social butterfly.  Suzie is on the VIP list of every club, has invites to the hottest parties, and knows all of the hottest celebrities and athletes. Suzie met Michael while attending college and by her senior year was pregnant with the couple first child. Suzie reminds me of Shaunie. She’s diluted in her belief that being a players’ wife or ex-wife isn’t a lifestyle it’s a career that you get on the job training for and you are an employee for life with all of the perks and benefits.  Suzie and Michael have two children together and were together for 10 years before splitting up. Suzie coins herself as knowing all of the ends and outs of the ‘game’ and is always more than willing to give her opinion even if no one asks for it.

Then there’s Puerto Rican beauty Evelyn, who’s from the Bronx, and is the former fiancé of Antoine Walker.  Evelyn and Antoine were together for a little over 10 years before she says she got fed-up with all of the lying and cheating; well that’s at least her said of the story.  I just can’t believe that this woman let her relationship with this man go on for 10+ years and no ‘real’ commitment. Wake-up… the engagement was just the holding pattern that worked for 10 years so you could be engaged and he could continue living the superstar lifestyle he was leading.  Evelyn is living in Miami starting over and constantly crying about how she’s struggling because there’s no more shopping or excessive spending…PLEASE! Give Me a Break! Evelyn has milked the lifestyle for all that it has to give and is now on to the next one.

Finally there’s Gloria, who is the only who feels she’s got her stuff together.  Gloria is engaged to Matt Barnes, who she met at the age of 12. After years apart Gloria and Matt reconnected when Matt was playing ball near her hometown of Oakland. The couple has twin 16-month-old boys, and at the age of 24 Gloria is trying to focus on her own business and charities outside of basketball, but the only charity that she is involved in Matt Barnes’ charity. Now the drama with Gloria is that the other women are constantly telling her that this not how it’s going to be forever, that he [Matt] will cheat on you, and that there will be groupies. But there’s an awkward relationship is with Shaunie, because it is rumored that Gloria’s sister is sleeping with Shaq. WOW! From what I saw in the first episode, Gloria doesn’t even care what the others think. She believes in her fairytale life and will put money on it that Matt is not like the others.

Well like I said I knew what I was getting into before I watched the show, but I was hoping to see at least one couple who was centered down to earth and showing the support of what a real family unit was. In the first episode don’t expect the drama, or the hair pulling, or the club fights, all of these antics will be coming up in future episodes.  All in all it’s your typical reality show full of bling, champagne, mansions, cars, clothes and of course the men. After the first episode let me know what you think, and each week look for a new posting on the latest episode of Basketball Wives.  Until next time…

Your JGF,