When the writers of the “Screen Actors Guild” went on strike for more than 14 months in 2007, there weren’t many options left for television enthusiasts besides old re-runs. This moratorium on screen writing ushered in the expansion of the “Reality Television” era. Reality television is an allegedly “unscripted” look into the lives of people from celebrities to athletes and usually focus on their relationships. Suddenly, the prospect of watching athletes and their “wives” has people glued to their television sets. What have we learned from watching “Basketball Wives”, “Football Wives”, “Deion & Pilar’s Primetime Love”, “Hank and Kendra”, “I Married a Baller” and “The Real Housewives of (insert major city here)”? We’ve learned that most of these women have absolutely NO SUBSTANCE, no career, little education and were more than likely NOBODY before they fell in the lap of their “baller”.
The AVERAGE woman is sitting in the house that SHE is helping to pay the bills in, because she is working overtime to make ends meet, watching these women on television sipping wine, having WAY TOO MANY lunch and dinner dates with each other to COMPLAIN about nothing and ENDLESS shopping trips to spend their husband/fiance’/boyfriend/baby daddy’s money. There is no HATE here because many of us WISH we had the means and opportunity to stay at home, drink wine, go shopping on a whim and to the gym all day everyday, while spending the money that SOMEONE else makes. The point here is that television doesn’t show you what REALLY happens in the lives of these ballers when their careers come to a screeching halt and there is very little income coming in. They don’t show “Little Mrs. Socialite” selling her furs or her watching the moving truck haul away her prized possessions to a storage facility while she takes her three kids to a hotel because the house is getting foreclosed on and she doesn’t have a dime in the bank to stop it from happening. Very few of these shows will show struggle because THAT’S NOT DRAMATIC ENOUGH. You’ll have to tune in to “Real Sports with Bryant Gumble” to find out that most of these ballers’ lives are all smoke and mirrors. According to CNBC.com, in 2008, the NBA player’s association cited that 60% of the players go bankrupt after 5 years out of the league. A few notable bankrupt athletes include: Allen Iverson, Michael Vick (he’s earning money again), Kenny Anderson (his ex-wife Tami appears on Basketball Wives), Derrick Coleman and Antoine Walker (his ex-fiance’ Evelyn is one of the stars of Basketball Wives). To prove that times are just as hard for athletes, Ex-Philadelphia Eagle, Reno Mahe just got arrested for stealing $12K worth of GAS.
After ditching their high school or college sweetheart because she is too “regular” for them, most of these “ballers” usually end up dating and marrying mindless arm candy with no business savvy or entrepreneurial spirit but instead she possesses a Ph.D in “gold digging”. Ballers aren’t usually trolling the high-rise office buildings in pursuit of the corporate types or hospitals for the orthopedic surgeons who are repairing their knees and certainly not seeking out the restauranteurs of the expensive restaurants that they frequent. Instead they are hanging around on the social scene looking for models, dancers and those relying on their good looks to get them through life. Good looks can prop the door open for a lot of people but they won’t necessarily give you the key to enter the front door at will! Yes a lot of women make a “career” out of being beautiful but “career” is the operative word here. You have to couple those looks with a vision for where they might take you and a plan on how to get there and have the will to execute and sustain it. Take America’s Next Top Model for instance, another wildly popular reality show, what are the winners of that show doing AFTER they won? Basically they are back into relative obscurity. Did they go into the show with a game plan on how to parlay that experience into movies, tv, starting their own modeling agency or motivational speaking? I suspect they just assumed that their looks and that one season’s appearance would catapult them to stardom automatically with little to no effort. These nonsubstantive, “beautiful-only” women are looking to be taken care of and there is a baller somewhere happy to oblige (see Just Wright movie).
The average career expectancy of an athlete is about 4 years across all sports. Many athletes engage in frivolous and reckless spending because they never really had money or unlimited access to the women that their new money can buy them. Many of them haven’t sought or utilized the services of a financial professional or the partnership of a woman who is savvy enough to game plan for the END of his career. His career will inevitably come to a screeching halt due to injury, being cut from the team or retirement and if he doesn’t have a back-up plan to go right into the next phase of his life, I hate to break the news to you Mrs. Baller with no independent wealth, YOU ARE IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE! A savvy woman would take all of that free time that she has to waste with her fake friends and parlay it into a business that will make her independently wealthy as well as helping to position her husband for his “life after”. She will encourage him to make wise investments with their money that will have a guaranteed return. A nest egg will be established for emergency situations and depending on whether or not he completed his education due to declaring early for the draft, she will encourage him to complete his degree to have it in hand and ready to go in the next phase of his life. Real women will encourage him to live “debt free” and pay off his creditors with all of that money so that they will be as “liquid” as possible and able to access CASH in a hurry. If he get’s a MILLION dollar signing bonus, there is no need to buy a $20 million dollar house! Even if they pay it off, the TAXES will be astronomical and will STILL have to be paid even after he’s out of the league and will most likely be unaffordable.
The next reality show that’s geared toward “ballers” and their wives should show a real “HONEST” account of these women in the roles of establishing themselves as real business women instead of real wastes of time! On Basketball Wives, they constantly reference their businesses but that storyline is buried WAY in the background of the show. We know that Evelyn owns a shoe store in Florida, Royce dances for a living, Jennifer has an extremely vague career, Shaunie is the Executive Producer of the show and who the hell knows what the other women do. It should also be noted that NONE of these women are actually BASKETBALL WIVES! They are all ex’s of basketball players. The Real Housewives of Atlanta used to star Lisa Wu Hartwell and her husband Ed Hartwell, who has had a hard time in the latter years of his NFL career. They were losing money, properties, etc. but she was willing to step up to try ANY kind of business to help pull her family out of their financial slump. She even encouraged Ed to pursue a career in broadcasting because he was attractive and well spoken. She was ultimately dropped from the show because her storyline didn’t have enough drama but what it did for REAL people was show us that ATHLETES STRUGGLE and some women will stick it out with them and support them by going to work and activating previously established financial plans.
The take-away from all of this is that, if you were always secretly trying to snag a baller and live like a “Ballers’ Wife”, it is NOT without sacrifice ON YOUR PART! Establish yourself and get a career or a business plan because statistics show that you are going to NEED it! You can have all of the “cash cow” babies that you want to ensure your lifetime of child support from your baller but if his money runs out, YOU will be left holding the diaper bag!