Basketball Wives: A Lesson in Self Respect

Regardless of the shameful drama, you could learn a lot from the Basketball Wives.

By: Angela Allen

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve at least heard about VH1‘s recently aired season of Basketball Wives. It is a well known stereotype that the wives and girlfriends of professional athletes are nothing but gold diggers who simply want attention in the media; and to enjoy lavish lifestyles of shopping on Rodeo Drive, traveling the world to experience resorts in every culture, sporting the most desired designer labels, having personal hair and nail stylists, live-in-maids, eating at the most exquisite restaurants, and to rock that enormous “Harry Winston” to proclaim the unbreakable bond in marriage to their very own professional athlete. Although one could easily assume this to be true by looking at a few episodes, you are then forced to wonder, do these women really think these men solely belong to them?

The cast was composed of executive producer Shaunie O’Neal, soon to be ex-wife of professional basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Williams, wife of professional basketball player Eric Williams, Gloria Govan, fiance of professional basketball player Matt Barnes, and Evelyn Lozada, ex-fiance of professional basketball player Antoine Walker. Two other women were apart of the cast although they were ex-girlfriends of Professional athletes; Suzie Ketcham, ex-girlfriend of professional basketball player Michael Olowonkondi, and Royce Reed, former dancer for professional basketball teams in Miami and Orlando.

According to Shaunie, the show was created to break the stereotypes of the spouses of pro-athletes and to give viewers a better understanding of the lives and struggles that these women have to endure. After keeping up with every episode, I then understood that although most of these women seem to stay in these relationships regardless of infidelity, some of them were willing to break it off and live their lives demanding respect and fidelity within their relationships. Not only do they want respect, they want to be loved. Shaunie led that example herself, by filing for divorce from her husband of nearly 5 years, Shaquille O’Neal, due to his unfaithfulness in marriage.

The reunion episode was aired featuring the entire cast excluding Gloria Govan, and even had the infamous “groupie” of the season, Sandra Lopez, appear as a guest. Things went smoothly while there were humorous recaps and explanations to emotional scenes, but when Lopez walked onto the stage, things went downhill. There were disrespectful comments constantly being thrown between the guest and the other cast members, and eventually Jennifer’s marriage seemed to have lost all sanctity when Lopez told America about Jennifer’s husband, Eric Williams, only viewing her as a business asset. As expected, this sparked a drama filled event, even without Gloria in the midst. A bucket of water was thrown onto the alleged “groupie” by Suzie, and resulted in her arrest.

Although I’m sure that this was entertaining to some, an issue then needed to be addressed. Instead of getting mad at the “groupies”, why not reverse that rage and blame the men who allow these other women to disrespect their relationships?

Kudos Shaunie, for showing women everywhere that regardless of how lavish your lifestyle may be, nothing is more important than your self-respect.

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