Basketball Wives' Evelyn Lozada on Pat Riley, Khloe Kardashian, and Why It's Hard to Keep a Man in Miami

Our fair city has been under siege from an army of reality television crew cameras. What with Snooki strutting about town in DIY Lady Gaga glasses, Oxygen's Bad Girls Club doing god knows what, the Kardashians deeply involved in capturing absolutely nothing of interest on camera and calling it a TV show, and Bravo busy trying to reanimate the dead corpse of Miami Social with new, prettier parts and the addition of the word Club. 

But before all that, VH1 snuck into Miami earlier this year and filmed most of the upcoming series Basketball Wives, which is set to premiere this Sunday, April 11 at 10 p.m. 

It stars and was executive produced by Shaq's soon-to-be-ex-wife Shaunie O'Neal, but from the first episode it's pretty clear that Evelyn Lozada is the real reality TV goldmine here. She's the HBIC, even though she's not technically a basketball wife. She was engaged to former Heat player Antoine Walker for a while, but they broke up and Walker isn't even in the NBA anymore. He's playing for a league in Puerto Rico. Lozada's moved on too, with her own shoe boutique in Coral Gables.

We recently caught up with her, and she dished on the show, Heat president Pat Riley, celebrity basketball wives like Khloe Kardashian, and her crazy stalker.

Riptide: So, the girlfriends or wives of Dorell Wright, Udonis Haslem, and Jermaine O'Neal were all apparently attached at one point, but pulled out. What was up with that?

Evelyn Lozada: It was little shock to me when they decided not to do it, but me knowing how strict [Miami Heat president] Pat Riley is, from the short time I was around him, I'm sure it had to do a lot with him. He's just that type of person that likes things very private. I couldn't see him being happy with that.

So, what was your main reason for doing the show?

I did the show because I own a high-end shoe store in Coral Gables, Florida (Dulce, at 286 Miracle Mile). To be honest that was the main reason. I thought it would be a good way to bring publicity to the store.

So, when a girl starts dating an NBA player, is it like they're immediately in some sort of clique or sorority like the show kind of makes it seem?

'Toine and I started dating in '99, and there were already cliques. Like the finances versus the girlfriends that are coming in and out. But after a while, you become close because you see each other all the time. It's kind of like a big family.

Khloe Kardashian just married Lamar Odom and we think Trina has some on and off thing with Kenyon Martin, is it a bit of a different dynamic when a player starts dating someone who's famous in her own right?

Well, I don't know Khloe, but I think with high-profile relationships like that, women like that, it's not clique-ish. They are just very private. For examples, Vanessa Bryant, she's very to herself.

There's a scene in the preview where one of Shaq's alleged mistresses gets a drink thrown in her face by one of the girls. Is there any other big drama moments we can expect this season?

Our last week we tape in California, I literally stayed awake the entire flight because of all the drama. For example, we had a last dinner that was very tense. It was more drama than I can even handle. When we finished taping, I was like, 'Thank God, I need a break.'

People think reality shows are something that's fake, but it's so real what happens on our show. The situations between some of the girls, attitudes, dealing with rumors and drama.

Someone was sending me threatening messages, like sending me text messages during the first week of taping. And it was another female, which is crazy, because you'd think it would be a male. She actually had nothing to do with the show originally, but she was like stalking me.

Shaunie O'neal recently blamed Miami, partially, for ending her marriage, saying the groupie situation was worse than in L.A. Do you really think Miami's a hard place to try and keep a basketball player?

I would agree with that statement. Like in my relationship, 'Toine signed here in '05, we got engaged here in '06. Miami was bittersweet, because we lost in Miami too. It's very easy to cheat.

A lot of the clubs stay up super late. Miami's very small. Everyone's going to the same place. It's not hard for the girls to find where the players are going to be.

Yeah, but are there actually groupies in bras and panties?

Well, everyone's half naked here already.

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