Why Shaunie O’Neal Should Leave Basketball Wives

by Kirsten West Savali

I’ve been a fan of Shaunie O’Neal for a long time. Since her early career days as an entertainment analyst for Insider and Access Hollywood, I’ve respected her business acumen and drive to be seen as something other than a “Basketball Wife.”

Which is why it’s time for her to get the hell out of dodge and drop the show with her reputation intact.

I don’t say this because of the typical criticisms you may hear concerning the show, such as it “portrays women of color in a bad light.” Personally, as I’ve said in a previous article on Clutch, these women don’t represent me, they represent themselves, and I refuse to stake ownership in their actions.

It’s time for Shaunie to leave because she’s obviously ready to leave.

Just like that bad marriage that you hold on to for dear life, anytime you have to consult your pastor to determine if you should leave or stay, you already know that answer.

“How long will they go on like this? How many times do the women, cuss, fuss and get mad,” asked Bishop Ulmer of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California. “Do you resolve this frustration when you see these women clawing at each other? Is it worth you walking away from?”

“I have really strongly considered walking away. Do I walk away and love the ladies from the distance,” Shaunie responded. “I feel like there’s nothing else that I can do. At this point I can no longer defend it; I can no longer stand by it.”

This comes after she voiced palpable contempt at her friends’ behavior and promised that they would get their act together:

“As this group has been blessed with strong, smart, independent, sassy women with as much passion as vocabulary, there’s NO excuse for physical violence. So the cast, SHED Media and Vh1 have done a gut check, to stop allowing physical violence demoralize the show and impose a no-physical violence policy.

“Personally, I almost didn’t come back to the show, but I thought it was important for this to be said as some of the past actions this season I have not agreed with, it’s not what I stand for and never have. So moving forward, we have agreed to better the show, still with plenty of drama and fun (how can we help that?!) but with a more responsible attitude all around. This is important for me specifically as an executive and what I do and don’t attach my name to, as a grown woman, and as a positive role model to my kids.”

To make a long story short: She’s embarrassed, she’s fed up, she’s done…but she’s still making her own money. Her obvious need for that to continue ensures that she remains a huge part of the problem – the one she claims not to want. She consistently throws a rock and hides her hands, while her henchmen do the dirty work. She has never once tried to stop a fight, never once spoken up in earnest for one of the women being bullied. Note that Meeka Claxton was done worse than a dirty dog last season and as long as the ratings kept rolling in, we didn’t hear a peep from Shaunie. She has always instigated from the sidelines while the checks roll in – and people have noticed.

Quite honestly, for an executive producer and mother of five, it’s a very bad look. Not only because it’s juvenile behavior, but because it’s obvious that she’s exploiting her “friends” for profit. Does she adore Evelyn and Tami? I’m sure she does. Does she grin a little bit inside every time they act a damn fool? Probably.

The “Queen Bee” knows that she’s better than the image she’s presenting to the world and no amount of money is worth jeopardizing future opportunities that don’t revolve around jumping across tables and hurling wine bottles. She’s a strong beautiful, woman with the world at her fingertips and I, for one, look forward to what she does next.

Let it go, Shaunie.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    *eye rolling this article*

    Girrl, Shaunie is not a saint. Stop making excuses for her. She is the lady that pitched this show into reality. What’s more, she is walking away just now, when people have just started to voice their contempt for the violence on display. Oh wow! So you are telling us that she should walk with her dignity intact. Abeg! I do not feel sorry for her! This is all an act. What she is doing is simply, applying business savvy. She is striking while the iron is hot. This would be a great and STRATEGIC time for her to walk away from it all. After all, she has nothing to loose. This article gets an EPIC side eye, roll and pat on my fro.

    When it’s all said and done, *Heyyyyyyyyyy Kirsten* I’ve actually missed your articles. They are always oh so, errrm, dramatic. Pause!lool.

  • Kirsten West Savali

    *Waves* Hey, Sis!

    And stop eye-rolling, we’re saying the exact same thing lol! I’m not saying feel sorry for her at all. I’m saying that she needs to stop exploiting her friends and move on. It’s obvious that her heart’s not in it, her wallet is. It’s definitely strategic, which is why she needs to move on…now.

    You can’t go complaining about your own show coast to coast without people looking at you side-eyed for still doing it, feel me? As my grandmother used to say, her slip is showing. :-)

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    *waves back*

    Girl the way you wrote this article, I could have sworn you are on her payroll!!! Shiid. I ain’t even know we are saying the same thing, that was not my impression at all. Imma read this again, morrow and see whether my perspective changes…lol!

  • http://www.itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

    I can see how people believe Shaunie is an instigator, I’m just a little confused when people say Shaunie is pimping her friends for profit. I mean no one is forcing the other women to be on the show, they dictate their own actions. Staged or not, the only thing that bothers me about Shaunie and many of the other girls (except for Royce) is how they sit idly by and watch someone be physically, mentally and morally attacked. This whole season I’ve sat back and watched every episode trying to figure out just what exactly Keisha and Jen said or did to make everyone else so angry. Royce is the only one with some semblance of a backbone and integrity but because of that she was thrown out of the “circle”. Won’t even bother to comment on Suzie. I don’t say this very often but someone needs to pray for her.

  • fefe

    I agree kirsten! Especially on throwing rocks and hiding her hands and never standing up for what’s right. Since she wanted to participate in this show, I thought her role would be the dignified one and she never is.

  • mamareese

    Um she is a guilty party as well….all this drama season after season signs her paycheck. She should leave since she “prides” herself on being a lady and drama free….the show’s enviroment and the many falls out are not condusive to her belief…..please birds of a feather…….just saying.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    Her reputation is already shot.

  • kidole

    I don’t get it! One minute these women are blaming everything on editing and the next, Shaunie is throwing them under the bus! Shaunie is just as much to blame as Tami and Evilyn because she never seriously checks her so- called friends for their behavior but rather condones it. Even if she physically isn’t on camera, she’s still getting paid as the Executive Producer

  • cocochanel31

    it makes me soo mad that she alwwwaaaays just watches and never says a word! Like obviously it doesn’t bother her that much! She should use her maturity as an intermediary role and not just as a sap sucker from the sidelines. I would never sit back and watch my so called friends fight and not break it up or at least try to mediate. Come on shaunie you need to do better!

  • Dalili

    Oh please! Shaunie’s change of heart reeks of damage control, after all there is a movie in the works based on this show so she can’t afford to lose viewers. This announcement has the same sincerity as Tami Roman’s tearful pledge “to do better” on The Wendy Williams show. Suddenly everyone is conscious of their kids’ reaction, public perception and how uncouth they come off? How long has the show been been on? Riiiggghttt!

  • OSHH


  • Dalili

    **and I had no idea she was an entertainment analyst for Insider and Access Hollywood. If she isn’t careful, BBW is what she’ll be most remembered for**

  • ChezCerise

    Is everyone forgetting the episode when Shaunie led the gang of thugs to a restaurant to confront Gloria over her canceled engagement when she was with Suzi? Gloria left and Shaunie followed her out of the restaurant? Lol…I was done then because that was so unnecessary.

  • apple

    Girl please how much shut down the show?? Oh wait a paycheck !

  • Andrea

    That little stunt she pulled during the last few minutes of the show was a PR move. The only reason she did that was to distances herself from the drama and negative press the show has been receiving. She shot that scene after the boycott of the show and it was edited in.

    Who does she think she’s fooling. She never addressed the bad behavior of the ladies, until now. Girl Please!

  • Lady Na

    Well let’s see who she leaves in the “VALLEY”

  • LN

    They all need to leave!

  • Jai

    I agree, this franchise needs to end it benefits no one who’s watching!

  • http://changecomesslow.com/2012/05/23/shaunie-oneal-mona-scott-young-you-are-a-ghetto-hot-mess/ Nikesha

    I can’t say that I admire her.

    As you stated she knows what she’s doing. But beyond the fact of throwing rocks and hiding behind her hands she is the one bringing in these women to be on the show. she brought in Meeka, Kesha, and Kenya and then let’s the other women rip them apart as an intitiation.

    She is a horrible role model. If she wanted to do something positive and use her TV and executive experience she should have retooled the show after she showed her own behind going off on Gloria. Or when Eric threw a drink in Jen’s face.

    Not just when one of your cast members files a lawsuit for assault.

    This show is beyond repair. I don’t want to see it made better. I’d like to see it go. I’d rather go sit by the tracks and watch a real trainwreck so i can at least feel some kind of empathy instead of the shame that builds up inside me when these women act a fool and then show up at a seminar about being positive.

    boo. bye.

  • Pseudonym


  • Queen

    Shaunie needs to go bye bye (along with the show). As long as she’s standing by people will still continue to associate her with the drama, which is rightful so. After all it is her show. My grandmother once told me, “You are who your friends are.” So if the label sticks.. it sticks.

  • dee

    I think Shaunie should have ended this mess a loooooonnnnng time ago. What was so confusing to me is the fact that she carries this title of “executive producer” and yet has zero power and constantly portrays herself as the victim. I dont know what any of these titles mean when I see the the credits roll, I know they sound important, but now Im realizing they really don’t mean anything.

    I remember when Shaunie first promoted season 1 on the Wendy Williams talk show. I remember distinctly she said that the show would be about what the women go through behind the scenes in their lives as women who have spouses in the NBA. Shaunie mentioned they would focus on their lives as independant business women, their charity work, and what it means to walk in their shoes. Shaunie said that she would only be in a couple of episodes because as the “executive producer” all of her work would be behind the camera. Well its obvious not much of that happened and the truth is Shaunie knows she should have ended this mess a long time ago but hasn’t. Im sure the decision to not pull the plug has been based on the income and celebrity it has generated for herself and her friends.

    This whole thing has brought to my mind the Dave Chapelle Show and how people said he was crazy for leaving his show at its height. Dave himself explained that he made the decision to leave his show, even after being offered millions, because the integrity of what he was trying to accomplish through comedy was being compromised. Dave specifically said that he stopped feeling good about doing his show when he realized that people were laughing at him and not with him. His decision was tough because he basically stoped the income flow for all of the people who worked in front of the cameras and behind the scenes of his show yet he made the tough decision to end it.

    I don’t envy the position Shaunie is in and I think she should take a note or two from Dave’s experience and understand what it looks like when people are laughing at you and not with you.

  • Belva Thomas

    I agree ladies. Shaunie, it’s move your classy self to classier roles and opps.

  • Nostalgic

    As we are buying into this non-sense this is just the beginning. One door closes and another opens, example: the show with Evelyn and Chad talking about their wedding of hell. Y’all know Shaunie is going to be behind that.

  • Pat

    Thuzie has diarrhea of the mouth. I believe the pastor/dinner scene was edited in last minute, it did not flow well with the other scenes. Interesting strategy indeed.

  • ms_micia

    My response to this article is “Why Shaunie O’Neal does not get a pass from me and I aint buyin it!!!” I see you Shaunie. The reason this woman is now distancing herself is because it has begun to mess with her money. Her whole intention with the branding of BBW wasn’t to somehow enlighten and upbuild it was to make her some M-O-N-E-Y! Their shinanigans didn’t begin to bother her until it started making the show unwatchable *i.e sponsors began pulling out*. So her little media stunt of a meeting between her and some pastor, chile PLEEZ! That was the message in the sky for these young women who are her “so-called” friends to not be surprised when she stops returning phone calls. She’s not slick, nor is she as smart as she wants everybody to believe. BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER. Why not be a complete behind the scenes executive producer? Why? Because some part of you either enjoyed or cosigned the ratchet-ness. Don’t try and convince us, as viewers, now that the damage is done that you’re above it all. Not once did she EVER try to stop it, not only did she not try she co-signed alot of Tami and Evelyn’s nonsense. Those were her “girls” and she just let them do her public image a disservice. Nobody saw her as a bird until she began flocking and clucking with them. If you’re a boss then you should be that and sign the checks, not try and inject yourself into the shows drama. No ma’m you don’t convince me one bit. I just feel sorrier for these anger bitter women she called friends because after bringing them on tv knowing they’d embarrass themselves she’s gonna drop them like a bad habit to save her own skin. That to me is more deplorable than the rest of them, because I have a feeling that Shaunie knows better and these other women simply are a casualty of the lifestyle. So move on, Ms. Shaunie, because we all know you’re gonna protect your coins at all cost. Just don’t try and make me believe you’re above the fray because you’re NOT.

  • candy

    I’m glad that I’m not the only who thought it was “interesting” how Shaunie had that last meeting with her Pastor at the very tail end of the show. Really, Shaunie?!! Meeting with your pastor?! It was SOOO obvious that she was trying to cover her butt. By the way, I AM A CHRISTIAN and DO support people going to talk to their pastor about problems. I wonder: Did she mention to the pastor how she did NOT speak up during the catfights, cussing, hitting,bullying, jumping up on tables, throwing wine bottles, and purse-stealing? Where was this good, going to church, Christian-girl Shaunie during the rest of the season of Basketball Wives????I would LOVE to hear what Pastor Ulmer thinks of that!!!
    1. Shaunie didn’t say anything when Tami slapped Meeka last season in Italy. 2. Shaunie and Evelyn both sat there when Tami cussed Kesha out badly, AND took her purse, leaving Kesha to break down into tears (SAD!!!!) 3. Shaunie made a really stupid comment that Kenya “scared her”, but was was okay when Evelyn threw a wine bottle over her head, and jumped up on a table like a firecracker in the air. (So Kenya is crazy, but Evelyn is not???!!)
    Shaunie, you should be ASHAMED of yourself!!!

  • ms_micia


  • Norma

    wow this is said RIGHT on time totally in agreement with you,

  • binks

    Basically! This show needs to end. Besides Shaunie isn’t classy or put together as she seems just because she doesn’t physically fight or yell 50% percent of the time doesn’t mean she is removed from it or isn’t dirty…i.e. the situation on how she met Shaq and their marriage , the Gloria situation, or keeping the mess going on the show. Shaunie is as classless and tacky as her core circle. So she can miss me with the “we are going to do better speeches, showing her kids and talk with the pastor damage control.

  • Mary

    You are saying exactly what I wanted to say.

  • Mary

    You are saying almost exactly what I was going to say.

  • TeTe

    Shaunie is troublemaker and she is full of Crap! Shaunie is the one that keeps this mess going! Please cancel that garage of a show because she has money remember she stoled Shaq’s money!!!! Lol

  • Roz Taylor

    This is one of the most mean spirited group of women ever. Shame on you Shaunie. Before this show, I thought you had class.

  • http://Clutch Newyorkcityme

    Although I am more than disgusted by Tami’s and Evelyn’s behavior; I am very surprised and annoyed by Shaunie’s. I too agree she instigated and supported the bullying and fighting on the show with her side comments and not speaking up in a way to put Evelyn and Tami in check as a “real friend” should do. Not just telling your “friends” that the person they are attacking is afraid of them. When does that ever stop a bully? But now to save face she is planning to distance herself from some of the women; SMH. Shaunie, Suzie, Tami and Evelyn, I hope you all take heed from the many posts and blogs out there and see how this season was really not a good look for you. I wish you all better.

  • Risse

    COULD NOT have said it better myself!! Thank you…

  • OSHH


  • Insight

    This was a refreshing read. thanks

  • miss

    Shaunie O’neal has saddened me to no end. Why didn’t she, or Evelyn not step in and tell Tami that SHE HAD GONE TOO FAR by taking Kesha’s purse. Even when Kesha was coughing, they are laughing in the background not saying anything. No one stopped to say “Tami, you are wrong.” I hate this show now. Also Suzie, to me, is the main part of the problem. Why does she continue to go back and tell others what people say. I cannot stand her. I used to work with a girl like Suzie who constantly went back and told coworkers things that were told to her. She did this to start up commotion. I wish with all of my heart that someone would have called Suzie out and said “why do you keep going back talking about what other people say?” Even if Tami leaves basketball wives, I will NEVER, EVER, WATCH OR SUPPORT THE SHOW AGAIN. Suzie should stop going around repeating things she has heard, and Shaunie and Evelyn should have stepped in to stop the attack on Kesha and the purse. I really was bothered by this season. I wish that it would be taken off of the air. In fact, the more I wrote about it, the angrier I am getting, so I will stop now.

  • Michelle17

    Well AMEN to THAT!!!

  • carla

    Shame on you Shaunie! I thought you had class before I watched this show.
    I’ve been saying this since the ongoing feud with Jennifer and Evelyn. Watching grown women act like high school teenagers. I will still watch because I’m intrege in how all this will play out.

  • Velma

    The minute a woman steps onto the stage to begin production of these types of shows, it speaks volumes about their character. I’ve never watched the show, as it does nothing to inspire or engage. It’s trash.

  • Tara

    I haven’t read through the comments but here’s what I want to know. Would you still watch the show if there were NO physical fights on it? Some of the same people complaining about this “ratchet” violent behavior are the SAME people who watch Bad Girls Club, for instance, and declare it wack if people simply argue and don’t “pop off”. Also, if you really wanted to see positive depictions of BW, I don’t see why this would be your first choice. Like REALLY what were you expecting?

  • Stepone

    First we need to understand that everyone involved in this show is GROWN! No one forced anyone to participate and we are each responsible for our OWN actions. That being said, there were many times when I as a friend have stepped into mess. You never want to do it but you stand for what you believe is right and this has really never happened in this show and the questions should be, Why? These women are business owners, mothers and some were even wives so why all the anger and fights. I will not blame this on Shaunie because she gave them all a job and it is not up to her to police them we each do that for ourselves, but as the seasons went on every person that went on that show already knew what to expect and they all walked into it with there eyes wide open. I donot excuse bad behavior at anytime but it happens on all reality shows – when people were raised with different values and it happens in society (This does not make it right) everyday.
    Just to be honest I enjoy some of these attitudes when I watch the show and I turn it on each week so who am I to throw rocks, I watch TV for entertainment not to make judgements. My suggestion would be not to watch the show and If I was stupid enough to go on the show I deserve what happened to me because I’m grown and make my own decisions. Really you can exploit yourself to make a buck and I have seen people do worse for a few dollars – so let Shaunie make hers!

  • Fox

    Never seen it, but if it’s like you all are saying then turn the shit off.

  • Brickcitysfinest

    I actually hope the show stays on. Why? I can’t wait to see how Evelyn & Tami react when they run into a chick that will stand up to them. They have revealed themselves as bullies, which means they’re punks, which also means their ass whippings are over due. Till now it’s been very lopsided, with Tami & Evelyn wilding out & always coming out on top. Not because they’re really bad asses, mind you. So far, the girls they’ve run up on have been timid, Ross being the exception. They get no points for that. Time to even the score. Wanna be a bully? Cool. Let’s see how they handle a real woman who will straight sucka punch them for just rolling their eyes & sucking their teeth, let alone jumping across tables. These two bullies need to get chin checked. That’s the cure. Always has been, always will be. Then they can pull the plug on the show. Can anyone think of a more appropriate ending?

  • Jeano

    ms_micia, I couldn’t have said it better!

  • Jeano

    R I G H T!!!

  • Grob

    THANK YOU for saying what many of us, who do not have a voice in the media, knew all along!!

  • Don

    I am so sorry that Malaysia was not invited to be a guest this season. All of those little Bullies would have been as quiet as a church mouse.

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  • Cheryl

    AMEN!!!! I used to have much respect for Shaunie…but its long gone. Stop playing the role of “it wasn’t me…it wasn’t my fault…I didn’t know” and admit to what you’ve done! Its a very bad look and gets us even more upset with you!

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