VH1’s Basketball Wives reality show debuts on Sunday. Following the lives of actual wives of NBA players sounds like a colossal bore, but I’m happy to report that this show will be anything but that. Of the six cast members, exactly zero are married to current NBA players.
Instead we get Jennifer Williams, who is married to former NBA journeyman Eric Williams. Shaunie O’Neal, who recently divorced Shaq. Suzie Ketcham, who is divorced from Michael Olowokandi. Gloria Govan, who is engaged to Matt Barnes and is the sister of Gilbert Arenas baby mama Laura Govan. And baby mamas Royce Reed (Dwight Howard) and Evelyn Lozada (Antoine Walker).
From their bios on the Vh1 site, none of the women are particularly attractive or have anything interesting going on in their lives. Or a job. (Until now!)
What we have here is the quintessential collection of retread groupies, which means the bios page of the women is an absolute comedy goldmine
As she’s the only woman in the cast who was ever formally connected to an NBA star - and allowed by law to mention his name in public - Shaunie O’Neal is the headliner of show. Taste of her bio:
A devoted mother of five, who began her career in film marketing, Shaunie’s goal with her series was to shed light on the complex lives of the women who stand beside these larger-than-life professional athletes and to show that it’s not all glitz and glamour.
Remember that last line as you keep reading.
First episode summary:
Fresh off her highly publicized filing for divorce from megastar basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, Shaunie O’Neal returns to Miami for a night out with fellow basketball wives and girlfriends Evelyn Lozada, Jennifer Williams, Gloria Govan, and Royce Reed.
The women catch up and dish dirt over dinner and dancing as Shaunie and Gloria struggle to put recent drama behind them. Later, former Miami/Orlando dancer Royce gets out of control during a dance contest at a Terrell Owens/Ludacris pool party, creating a fresh internet scandal of her own and dragging Jen, Evelyn, and Miami social queen Suzie down with her.
Megastars! Scandal! The Club! Pool Parties! Drama!
Yep, Shaunie and her pals sure sound like complex, devoted mothers and current girlfriends who, despite inexplicably being gifted a reality show, have absolutely no interest in a lifestyle of “glitz and glamour” .
If you read SbB, you already know the real star of this show will be Royce Reed, baby mama to Dwight Howard. Howard currently has a restraining order out on Reed that prevents her from mentioning his name on the show - or their child together.
As for Royce’s bio, we don’t even get her last name!
Recently she started her own Burlesque Dance Company Fantashique which travels all over Florida. The only thing more colorful than her Fantashique dance moves is her personality.
In the future, she looks forward to pursuing her acting career, finding a new man, and mixing with the rest of the basketball wives. Her hardest task with the other wives will be debunking the negative stereotype that the wives have against team dancers.
The sad part about this show is that these women could actually spin dozens of outrageous yarns chronicling their experiences as glorified groupies. Stories which likely include plenty of illegal and illicit behavior that would no doubt cramp the style of some current and former NBA ballers - and make mainstream media news.
But to satisfy Viacom legal, we’ll probably instead get a coached-up collection of warmed-over NBA jumpoffs stumbling into one manufactured scandal after another. And don’t forget the vignettes about their perishable business ventures and using charities as props to for self-promotion.