Basketball wives are often portrayed as Chanel-toting, gossip-loving trophies with little ambition outside of reminding everyone that they won the Rich Cae lottery.
But Lauren London manages to upend the stereotype by bringing sympathy to her role as Vanessa King in BET’s new series Games People Play, which premiered Tuesday night.
Produced by Soul Food’s Tracey Edmonds, the series stars London as the wife of one of the most powerful basketball players in the nation, Marques King, played by Insecure hottie Sarunas J Jackson.
Vanessa set aside her dreams of becoming a high-powered attorney to become the kind of mother who would hand-stencil hearts on her daughter’s walls despite being a millionaire.
In the pilot episode, which aired Tuesday night, it’s clear she puts her marriage and her two-year-old before everything else in her life. But for her constant sacrifices, she is rewarded with cheating scandals and unanswered questions by a ball hog, who just refuses to play fair.
Wistful for her life before the harsh Los Angeles spotlight, and unable to look the other way, Vanessa turns to her sorority sister Nia Bullock for comfort. (But wait, are they Deltas or AKAs? Serious question.) But in the age of clickbait, the journalist-turned-gossip blogger she once called a friend is conflicted about whether to ride for her homegirl or break a story on Marques’ cheating.
Meanwhile, Marques is trying to balance the perks of baller life with the pressures of being a family man. His mission is made even more difficult by a messy hanger on who never got over his own hoop dreams.
It’s also complicated by ruthless women, like Parker McKenna Posey’s Laila James, who is unable to resist the allure of becoming a celebrity side chick.
Featuring cameos from professional popular girls and social media standouts, Games People Play takes a realistic approach to love, fame, and fortune at a time when all you need to ruin someone’s life is a smart phone.
Games People Play airs on BET Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.