Keonna Green is the mother of two kids, with her youngest being six months old. She’s a former dancer, has an online store for children’s clothing and runs her own Los Angeles-based hair salon. But if you Google her name, the first thing you’ll find is that she’s the mother of Los Angeles Lakers’ player, Nick Young‘s kids.

The 27-year-old has known the basketball star since high school (eleventh grade to be exact), continuing an on-and-off relationship through the years.

Last year when the news of her pregnancy hit amidst the split between Young and rapper Iggy Azalea, Green was labeled a “side-chick” to their whirlwind love story. But all along, Green has been a steady influence in Young’s life— long before his romance with the Australia lyricist became a thing.

“Me and Nick have lots of history,” Green told ESSENCE in an exclusive interview.

“We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives and we’ve dated other people, we have still always managed to keep in touch. It’s something that no one will be able to understand. We don’t even really understand. We’re just like, ‘You know what, we have these kids. You know, we are friends.’ We share each other’s deepest, darkest secrets. We talk a lot. We have that type of friendship.”

Green is now telling her story in her own words in the new season of Basketball Wives. She, alongside Aja Metoyer — who has children with Dwyane Wade and Damon Wayans Jr., — are the newcomers that viewers want to know more about. 

“I think I have this bad image when it comes to, when people hear my name,” Green says. “So I feel like now that people have had a chance to see me on television, people’s opinions of me have changed a little bit.”

She contends Evelyn Lozada and Jackie Christie have been supportive cast mates in helping her transition to the TV world.

“She’s in the media with a lot of stuff that’s going on in her life, and I just respect how she just she handles all the situations,” Green says about Christie. “She doesn’t really react to everything.”

So how is her relationship with Young, a year after being dragged by the media? Pretty good, the mom says.

“Last year was not easy for me,” she told ESSENCE. “[But] it’s very easy to co-parent with him [Young]. We do a lot of family things together. He makes sure he puts his kids first on his holidays and things like that. So I don’t really have an issue when it comes to that.”

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