I love basketball. So much that it comes as a welcome surprise when TV networks offer reality shows centred on basketball. So yes, you will find me frowning upon the Real Housewives Of Wherever, but I will be glued to Basketball Wives. To the naked eye that seems hypocritical, but I will defend my position with two points.
First of all, Basketball Wives is based on real-life personalities who are married to real-life NBA stars. Now if you know your sports and entertainment news then you know there are few sports people who cash in like NBA players do.
That said, these brothers have a neck for chasing, or being chased by the skirts, and they blame being constantly on the road for it all. Some get married, Tony Parker (to Eva Longoria) and Kris Humphries (to Kim Kardashian) and it doesn’t go far, while others like Carmelo Anthony (married to TV personality Lala Anthony) and Grant Hill (married to singer Tamia) keep it alive for the long haul.
So you see, you do not need to know what a turnover or a lay-up is in basketball because Basketball Wives is an off-court affair. If we go to the court it will be to add context, nothing more.
Second, the drama surrounding Basketball Wives does not wait for TV, it makes headlines. A few weeks ago, Lala was the centre of a heated argument between her hubby and Boston Celtic’s Kevin Garnett when, after a cheap shot from Carmelo, Garnett retaliated by saying Lala tasted like a honey-flavoured cereal. As if that’s not enough, Lil’ Wayne was banned from all NBA games a few days ago because of his bad behaviour courtside. In retaliation the rapper directed some obscenities at the Miami Heat “big three” – LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. He even claimed that he had slept with Bosh’s wife. Now tell me a place with better drama.
In season four, we meet the remaining cast which includes Shaunie O’Neal, (who was married to Shaquille O’Neal), Evelyn Lozada (who was married to NFL star Chad Johnson, aka Chad Ochocinco and engaged to Antoine Walker) and Suzie Ketcham (Michael Olokwandi’s ex-girlfriend).
These three have been with the show from the outset and essentially they run the show. It is amazing though that while the show has kept its name, none of the trio is still with the basketball dude they started out with. In fact, by season two a lot had changed and it didn’t make sense to call these chicks Bball wives. But that’s never been the point.
These ladies have always been about elevating themselves and making names off the players. Truth is few unions last in the NBA and if you are a woman you need to make it worth your while from the outset. If you make a name while you are still with him then the world is full of possibilities. I love this game and all it brings.
• Basketball Wives airs on March 11 on Vuzu (DStv channel 116) at 8.30pm.