Basketball Wives LA’s Draya Michele Says She’s “Not Friendly” With Costars; Imani Showalter Talks Backlash

Again, you didn’t think they would go quietly back into obscurity, did you? On the heels of the Basketball Wives: L.A.’s reunion, the women are still everywhere, making sure we don’t forget them during the downtime until a potential second season. VH1 caught up with the once bullied — now break-out star — Draya Michele. The following is an excerpt from that interview.

Did you have any idea what this would be like, this whole filming experience?

Definitely imagined it to be something different. I kind of imagined it to be with me more like Royce [Reed] in the Miami show…I don’t think it turned out that way, though.

What I’m most surprised by is you are the one person, you even said it yourself at one point, “Everybody at first is against me and now everybody’s with me.” I don’t think anybody really expected that.

Right. I mean, I don’t know what everybody thought they were going to think of me, but what I thought everyone was going to think of me—I though everyone was going to hate me and just not like me. You know, what I did was I just went in and promised myself that I’d stay true to myself, and I did, and it ended up working in my favor.

Watching the show back, was there anything that shocked you the most about how anyone was portrayed?

Not really as much as anyone was portrayed, I was shocked about how much time they consumed talking about me because I really had no idea all of that was taking place.

Are you—were you offended at all that people were so harsh and calling you names from the get-go? “Groupie” and all that stuff.

Yeah, I was definitely offended being that it was coming from them. I mean, they’re not God-like women, so it’s like, where do you get off saying that? It was shocking but, you know, I took it.

Did you know when the series started that your past and the whole internet thing was going to be a topic of conversation?

I pretty much expected it and prepared myself for it. But I just assumed that if I discussed it once, I wasn’t going to have to discuss it several times. Once I did discuss it one time, I thought I was done. So being that it kept being brought up, it became a problem for me.

At this point, are you friends with everyone? It seems like Hawaii helped you all bond.

No, I’m not really friendly with any of them except for Malaysia [Pargo].

I don’t want to dwell on one storyline, but like, the worthless thing; does that still stick with you at all?

No, only because like…as soon as Imani [Showalter] called me worthless, her dirt hit the blogs because people were like, “How dare she?” You know, everybody has their own stuff, mine just surfaced. Luckily for them, no one even cares enough about them to even put their dirt out. But I mean, it happens. Everybody has dirt, so coming from her I was just like, it’s the pot calling the kettle black…You know, she was one of the people I was most shocked at because in the beginning, I really liked her.

Speaking of Imani, she also weighs in on some of the similar issues, focusing mainly on the backlash she ensued after calling Draya “worthless.” She regrets how she was portrayed on the show and while her interview is very articulate and uber-calm (typical Imani), there is something about her that still seems to come across as condescending. It’s probably just me. Portions of her interview are below.


Were you happy with how you ultimately came off?

Not necessarily. I think there was not a lot of who Imani really is that was shown. You saw the times where I was upset and the times where there were emotional issues going on and I came off slightly angry. I was more angrier than I normally am, really. There are a lot of things about myself and things that I’m doing and the type of mother that I am, and all those things weren’t shown, so people have this one-sided view of who Imani is. So, that was a little disappointing. That’s something I would change.

If you could go back and change the “worthless” situation or or chosen a different word, would you?

Actually in that scene when I was talking to Draya and getting to know more about her, I actually reached over and was like, “I want my box back.” I actually wanted to change the word at that point. Just going into the room, I was alerted about certain things, so when we got there, we were asked to describe the person. When I opened the box that had all the words in there, that was like one of the first words on top. It kind of equated in my mind, okay, I’ll just put that one in there. You know, it was impulsive. I probably should’ve thought it through a little bit more. It was not the right thing to do. I don’t think anybody’s worthless.

Are you surprised by what the fan reaction to the show has been, or response to you? Do you check Twitter and stuff like that and see what people say?

For a couple of episodes, I checked Twitter and then it kind of went downhill for me and I was just over it. [Laughs] I realized that that’s, you know—Twitter…it’s huge but that’s not everybody’s opinion. I can’t base my life on what others think of me. I felt bad because I feel like they don’t know who I really am and I think I’m a great person. I think it’s sad that people see me as this mean, fat, bitter, old, whatever, you know? I have so much more. I’m a loving person. I’m a great friend. I’m a fantastic mom. I have the biggest heart ever. There’s a lot about me that hasn’t been shown. You only see this one-sided version of me. That’s important, you know. I wish they would have shown that part of me.

I’ve seen a lot of the people who are still bitter about your choice of the word “worthless.” That stuck with people.

At the end of the day, we all got into confrontations. It wasn’t a profanity. We all said stuff in the heat of the moment that is not the nicest. I don’t think worthless is the worst word you could ever use on the face of the Earth. What shocked me was that my kids are in the kindergarten and second grade, and you’re taught to use your words. I think people were more offended about me using my words than they were by women using their fists, and that was shocking to me. I think they have nothing else to rip me out about, and so some people choose to hold on to the negative. I myself, I apologized to her. Draya and I were okay with how we handled it. We’re friends; things are great. I chose to take that negative and turn it into something positive. It helped Draya. It got her story out and people love her. I focus on that positive part of it. Some people still hold on to the negative. I’m not.

What’s your relationship with her and all the other women? Do you keep in touch with them?

We tape so much and for so long that I think initially once we wrapped, we were just kind of like we want to get back to our real lives and our own lives. I do still speak with some of the girls. I talked to Malaysia after we wrapped. I speak to Laura [Govan] all the time, Gloria [Govan], their mom. I spoke to Draya. We hung out afterwards. Things are good. The only person who I really haven’t reached out to, spoken to, or taken call from is Jackie [Christie]. I mean, I even spoke to Kimsha [Artest]. Things are good with us.

“Things are good with us.” Kind of interesting that Draya says she only talks to Malaysia, but Imani considers Draya to be her friend. Hmm… it seems to me, when comparing these two chats, that Draya continues to be the Draya we’ve seen all season (love her or hate her — and kudos to the commenter who thinks she needs John Salley’s job!), while Imani seems to be spinning her “worthless” call in a manner that would make Charlie Sheen’s publicist proud.