Why ‘Basketball Wives’ Makes Us Sad For Women Everywhere

This week, I watched VH1’s top-rated reality series “Basketball Wives” and wanted to punch my TV and then myself for falling victim. Despite the title, the show features only one wife, Jennifer Williams, who’s married to retired baller Eric Williams. The rest of the cast includes one fiancèe, Gloria, engaged to Orlando Magic’s Matt Barnes, two ex-fiancèes, Evelyn and Suzie, a dancer Royce and Shaunie O’Neal, ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal.

This the show’s first mistake.

Don’t promote a show about married women when only one has a ring and I desperately wish desperately she didn’t — for her sake. We’ll get to her husband and his overbite in a minute but, honestly, the show just frustrated me. Watching these women spout maturity while fighting over who’s “fake” and throwing drinks at one another was infuriating, because what does “Basketball Wives” say about minority women and our idea of making it.

A career is not everyone’s idea of success, that’s fine. My beef is with women who claim not to seek a lifestyle with certain financial benchmarks, but endure unimaginable hoops proving otherwise.

“You’re not even a wife,” says an actual wife of a basketballer to Evelyn who’s accused her of online stalking.

Evelyn just ended her relationship with Antoine Walker, but stayed for ten years without a wedding. If you’ve discussed sidestepping marriage for political or religious reasons, fine, but barring that, why stay with an unfaithful man that isn’t marriage material if matrimony is your goal? Suzie, formerly with Michael Olowokandi for ten years, mirrors Evelyn’s predicament and compliments Jennifer’s, whose unfaithful husband doesn’t want her around his “clients” nor as the mother to his children. “Love & Basketball” anyone? Remember how he always had “meeting with clients” even though he was retired? Ain’t that many endorsements in the world.

Then there’s Royce, the free spirit and mother of Dwight Howard’s son. She isn’t pretending to be anything other than herself, whether popping at Ludacris’ pool party or dancing on a pole, at least she’s honest. Jennifer owns Flirty Girl Fitness — a gym who’s mantra is ‘dance like a stripper to lose weight!’ — but she’s appalled by Royce’s behavior?

Jennifer is the most frustrating because she spends the show arguing with women who’ve probably slept with her husband and quipping, ‘Well, I have the ring.’ My grandfather says ‘If more than one person tells you the same thing and they don’t know each other, maybe you should listen’ and Mrs. Williams is a prime candidate. Eric, himself, called cheating ‘a man thing. I’m on the road and you’re not there … I was just trying to satisfy a need.’


I seriously think Jennifer is terrified of a life without her husband’s status and that makes me sad because no woman should ever allow herself to be defined by a man.

Ultimately, if I was a little minority girl, between “Basketball Wives,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and Ocho Cinco’s upcoming dating show, I’d think that I should use my sexuality to get ahead in life. Why strive for a career when I can wait out a relationship with an athlete or an artist? He might mistreat me but at least I can get a new pair of Louboutin’s.

ps. who’s the chick third from the left?

Last 5 posts by Hillary aka Steely D

  • Khalilah

    SteelyD- this article was on point! You speak on the same points that I see every time I watch the show. Why are they throwing so much water on girls when their men are obviously the problem? And why is there only one wife on the show? This show should be called, Basketball Ex-Girlfriends.

  • Jennifer needs to leave. Her husband clearly is not interested. He’s not even that cute (not that that’s a big deal, but I’m sayin). Jennifer is annoying because she feels the need to refer to her purse as “my Chanel bag” every time. I think she’s torn between her lifestyle and the love/value she longs for.
    I see in her some sort of fake (yeah homegirl was right, she’s phony) desire to be this upper-crust, legitimate wife with a pass into society… trying to fight against the gold digger stereotype of athlete’s wives. It must be a tiresome act.

  • You knocked it out of the park with your thoughts. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Outside of Royce, the rest have absolutely no redeeming qualities. There’s hope for Royce if her mother or some mentor with a head on her shoulders took her under their wing.

    I think Gloria maybe ok, too. I just think she’s incredibly naive.

    Jennifer is just looking for camera time & attention when she brings up how hurt she is by her situation. Since she has no kids with him and he doesn’t love her, it should be fairly easy to leave. Hell, as long as she didn’t sign the worst prenup in history she would still get paid from the divorce. She just enjoys having some drama to talk about in her life and loves living her soap opera life.

    Evelyn is just a mean-spirited & manipulative Royce. Royce may dance inappropriately, but she was the one drunk with her titty out at a “fundraiser”.

    Why are Suzie & Evelyn never with their children? Mother’s of the year, I’m sure.

  • Abram

    Hills…this article hit the nail on the head.. I watched a couple of episodes this weekend and couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing… Vh1 could very well be the death of black people… Marcus Garvey, Madame CJ Walker, Truth, Tubman et al. are all rolling over in their graves… SMH

  • Private Private

    I know I’m late in commenting but I believe the 3rd chick from the left is Gloria’s sister aka Gilbert Arenas’ ex fiancée aka the straw that broke the camel’s back in Shaunie and Shaq’s marriage.

  • Private Private

    I know I’m late in commenting but I believe the 3rd chick from the left is Gloria’s sister aka Gilbert Arenas’ ex fiancée aka the straw that broke the camel’s back in Shaunie and Shaq’s marriage.

  • Shanell51

    Jennifer williams is just so FAKE, she puts on this front for these cameras, she trying to make people think she just was born rich, WTF, bitch u just got “money” when u married gator-mouth.and the only reason why she aint been divorced gator mouth is because she signed a prenup and her fake ass aint gettin nothin!!…and evelyn is just a ghetto bitch looking for a super save a hoe type man or basketball player…ie….wtf tammi should beat her ass talkin bout she was talking to her husband….bitch u knew from the begnning that kenny was tammi ex husband…then chad ocho-wateva go try to turn a hoe into a housewife….mission impossible!!..and royce need to forget about these hoes and finish making her money…shaunie making the most money she get like a million dollars in childsupport so dat bitch set for life.