In 1848, people from nations around the world flocked to California for what is called the Gold Rush. These people were called “Forty-Niners”, in reference to 1849, the year the rushers really started to pour into California. In 1990, the rap group EPMD made a song about women who go after men strictly for their money. The song, and these women, were called “Gold Diggers.” Kanye West also made a song in 2005 featuring Jamie Fox with the same title and detailing the same type of females.
In 2010, VH1 created a new term and reality show that describes a woman who goes after a man for his monetary possessions. In fact, this new age version of a Gold digger doesn’t just go after the man for his possessions, but she desires and plans how to use his fame and public persona, to enhance her own. These women and the show are called Basketball Wives.
Traditionally, a gold digger would have to marry a man who was a celebrity or sports star. In this new millennium, you don’t have to be married to him, you just need to have dated him or in the case of one of the cast members, be associated with the team. Maybe that’s considered being married to the team, therefore technically making her (Royce Reed, former dancer of the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, mother of Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard’s son Braylen) an official “basketball wife”.
Royce Reed with she and Dwight Howard's son Braylen
In fact, in the season that has just finalized (season 2), only two of the cast members were actually currently married to an NBA player and one of those is in the process of getting a divorce, which was one of the plot themes of this season. So why are these “basketball wives” relevant and what are they (and the show) doing for pro basketball?
First and foremost, the reality show that survives to run a second season and third season does so for one reason: the show is filled with mindless drama. These women, like most cast members of reality shows, have no ambition or theme to the show besides, “look at me, I used to be involved with a star, now I have is money.” But of course all is not reality.
Many of the women are not in the upper financial bracket as one would think, having been married (supposedly) to an NBA star. Tammi Roman, who is known as being aggressive and the one to “not take any crap”, is the ex-wife of ex-NBA star Kenny Anderson. Anderson was a playground legend in New York before going on to Georgia Tech, then on to play for the New Jersey Nets where he had a multimillion dollar contract. Roman let it be known on season 1 of the show that Anderson left her with no money and she survived the tough years after her marriage living off of welfare. Roman was also a cast member of MTV’s The Real World: LA, where she was best known for having an abortion on TV and having a cast member thrown off the show for attempted rape.
Tammi Roman, ex-wife of ex-NBA Star Kenny Anderson.
Many NBA players are trying to get their ex’s to not appear on the show by taking them to court before they can sign a deal. Gilbert Arenas, another member of the Orlando Magic, recently lost a court junction to stop his former fiance from appearing on the new upcoming season of the show and mentioning his name. With his thousands of Twitter followers, the judge ruled Arenas tweets about various mundane occurrences in his life and his attempt to get his former fiance, Laura Govan, whom he has four children with, was not valid.
Gilbert Arenas pictured here with ex-fiance Laura Govan. Arenas unsuccessfully sued Govan and tried to block her from appearing on season 3 of Basketball Wives.
Is this the new gold-digger? You don’t have to actually marry an NBA player, you just have to have had a public relationship with him. Now you can be on your way to your own riches and not have to have his child and collect child support, although most do. Evelyn Lozado and Suzie Ketchum are also cast members of the original show and neither were married to NBA players. Lozado was engaged to former star Antoine Walker and is now engaged to current New England Patriot receiver Chad Ochocinco. Ketchum is the ex-girlfriend of former NBA player Michael Olowakani and has two children with him.
The new installment of the show, Basketball Wives LA, premieres in August and features two current wives of basketball players, an ex-wife, two ex fiances and a model / actress who is the former girlfriend of Chris Brown but has been linked to several NBA players. HuH? Now you just have to be linked to someone?
I give this advice to NBA players when you meet someone from now on. Not only should you get a prenuptial agreement before you get married, but you should have your lawyer draw up and “pre-mentioning” and “pre-capitalizaion” document before you go on a first date. That way, before she breaks up or leaves you, you don’t have to be in court fighting for someone to bad mouth you and try to destroy your name, just because your relationship, or lack thereof, didn’t work out. When you get a whiff of someone who seems to have an ear to the floor listening out for the next installment of Basketball Wives or some related show, do what your coach yells at you to do when the other team gets a rebound: RUN!