Hoop Ho Diaries: In Defense of Evelyn


Ah Basketball wives…how do I love thee…..let me count the ways….

Basketball Wives is everything great about bad reality TV: conspicuous consumption, beautiful women, melodrama, sex, gossip, enough cats fight to rival your local all girls parochial school, and if that wasn’t enough; they even gave us a little Al Reynolds this season to boot.  The show chronicles the lives of women who are married to or in most cases divorced, separated, or otherwise presently/formerly copulating with NBA players.  We watch them argue, back bite, and generally go at it for an hour each week, with no clear path for redemption , growth, or other identified higher purpose.  The show more or less plays like a post-post-adolescent mean girls, but yet I really dig it.

The intellectual in me realizes that this show is fraught with problematic images for minority women, and for that matter women in  general.  The characters are petty, superficial, and oft-times morally debased.  Nevertheless, it provides a  perverse and painful adrenaline rush, somewhat akin to popping a pre-date zit.

I’ve said only half in jest that Basketball Wives is the only sports that I’ll willingly watch.The recently aired reunion specials had all the spectacle of a championship basketball game with better shoes. There was man-to-man defense with little Royce outmatched by the lengthy Boricua show-stopper Evelyn, with host John Salley playing the referee.

Since bedding Cincinnati Bengals Chad Ochocinco on their first date (***clears throat*** 5x) and admitting to sleeping with co-star Tami Roman’s  then husband Kenny Anderson, Evelyn has been catching a lot of shade for being a ho, trash box, alley-cat, or any other synonym one might come up with for a so-called loose woman.

Yet, I find something fascinating about Evelyn.  I kind of admire how she has strategically positioned herself as the show’s archetypal villain; the move shows a unique kind of genius.  All good reality shows need a “bad guy” and on Basketball Wives Evelyn has earned her place among the Natalie Nunns, Omarosas,  New Yorks,  and Jade Coles of reality TV’s past.  She has leveraged her sexuality, fire-sharp tongue, and power over the other women to create her brand.

Mark my words she will leverage this brand into her own reality series, which will more than likely co-star her newly-minted fiancée: none other than  Ochocinco, another reality TV star.    Apparently, ho-dum has its benefits because she is sporting one hell of a rock.  The extent to which the engagement is spectacle or a publicity stunt is anyones guess, but I can appreciate a woman who goes after what she wants.  As  she so rawly put it: who I f**ked and how I f**ked him is none of your motherf**king business.”

I mean even considering that she has exposed her life to the cameras of a national reality show, she still has a point.  It amazes me that a American’s still maintain highfalutin airs around this sort of artificial puritanical sexuality, which is ironically set against the back drop of a culture driven by an orgie of sex, commerce, and power. For all intensive purposes, Evelyn is operating within a culture that values and rewards beauty, and in which  sex can be more than marketed.

Sex has become entrepreneurial.

I’ll miss Basketball Wives until next season, but I’m waiting with bated breath for Evelyn and Ochocinco: Married to the Green.  It will be as artificial as Astroturf but it will be entertaining.   Sports, sex, and entertainment; it’s the American way.

So what do you think?  Anyone else out there willing to admit they are on #teamevelyn? Is Shani O’neal wrong for promoting these characterizations of black and minority women to enrich herself?  Does anyone view Evelyn’s moves as empowering rather than classless?

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