Right in time for March Madness Lifetime brings up Bringing Up Ballers. According to Lifetime, ” no air balls are allowed in their new series Bringing Up Ballers. The show airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT. It features five Chicago-area entrepreneurs whose kids are some of the country’s most elite young basketball players, the series follows these feisty moms who will stop at nothing to ensure that their businesses are successful and their boys are on track to make it to the NBA. These ladies are anything but benchwarmers as they balance their households and businesses, while managing their sons’ daily practices and games. Together they are the ultimate Hoop Moms and are not afraid to call foul on each other as they fight to ensure their kids make it to the top.” We checked in with mom Nikki, mother of Nimari, real estate broker and owner of a basketball apparel line.
How did it feel to know you and your son and the rest of the family were going to be on Lifetime?
It was definitely exciting and it was something we were working on for quite some time. So we were just ready, finally ready for our moment.
You guys really support and motivate your kids to reach their dream, what can us moms at home watching learn and take away from watching the show?
I think that moms can get an idea of what it means to kind of put yourself on the back burner and to help your kids pursue their dreams. It takes a lot of money and time and energy AND you have to really believe in and support you kids. The show will show moms exactly how to do that. That we take away from our own personal lives when we’re in the gyms and practices and driving them here and there and flying to different cities for tournaments. So it gives moms the back story and the whole vision of what it really takes to help your kids fulfill their dreams.
When did you realize your son was not just an average kid playing basketball with friends on the weekends?
Very early on, when he was about one years old. He was very, very little. My mother- in- law had a basketball court in her driveway and every time we would go to visit, which was pretty often, he would not go in the house. He would be this little miniature kid, a baby, trying to put the ball in the hoop, so we learned early on from that. We got him involved in competitive basketball, it wasn’t a league at that time, but he was playing teams at the age of three.
We all worry about who our kids hang out with and what impression or influence they are putting on our child. I am sure you have to worry about this maybe more so because your son needs to stay focused and on track? Is this true?
Well, I think that you have to keep a grip on your kid, especially in Chicago with so much violence here and so many kids that are being victims of gunshot and just violence overall. So you have to have a good grip on your kids, you have to know who their friends are, you have to be able to say I don’t want you hanging around with this kid, I don‘t want you to be around those kids. You have to set what your expectations are and have the decision- making abilities to say this is not who you’re gonna hang out with. No, this is not going to be your friend. My husband and I tell Nimari what we are expecting from him, who he is to be with and who he is not to be around. Now even more so, because this world is getting crazy and it’s rough and it’s scary to raise a kid. You have to let them know-don’t go to the store, don’t go to the gas station, you stay here, you do this, you do that. It’s all about having a tight grip and setting those boundaries with what’s allowed and what’s not allowed.
Can we expect a lot of competition between the moms too? And if so, who is worse, the moms or the kids?
For sure with the parents. Everybody thinks that their kid is the best. Someone like me, I don’t say a whole lot, because I allow my son to show. Some of the moms just run their mouths and make things larger than what it really is when their kid is on the court.
So there is a story there with the women of the show not including the kids?
It‘s not just about being moms. It’s dealing with our own personal lives and being entrepreneurs and that is hard within itself. We are showing our kids though our daily lives on what it takes to be successful. My son knows that when you go to practice and when you go to games that is your job- this is what you are expected to do–and you have to exceed, not be mediocre. Mediocre is not in my household. That’s life. I hang around winners. Whoever is around me has to be a winner, no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Do you play basketball, maybe practice with your son or more on the sidelines?
I’m definitely a sidelines mom. My husband, I like to call him a Joe Jackson, he practices with Nimari before practice, after practice, in the car they are having conversations- basketball is just probably the number one topic during dinner and just in general. I’m more of the laid back parent. My husband is Mr. Basketball. Never is a conversation had without basketball being mentioned in our house.
Can you give us moms watching some tips on being a successful business woman, running a household and dedicating so much time and energy to helping your child reach his dream? How do you do it all?
Well, I would actually have to say that I am not like all the other moms. They are pretty much single parents. We have a family dynamic. I don’t know if I would be able to be as successful without my husband. So for me, my advice, I would suggest to moms to find them a husband, fiancé or whoever, who is on the same page. It really is a two parent job. It can be with one parent but it’s easier with that partner. Like what I have. So I would suggest again to find someone that’s gonna be on the same page and wants the same thing. Maybe someone from a sports background, that’s willing and able to put in the time and work. Nimari is a product of his mom and dad and it does make things just a tad bit easier.
Can you tell me something funny or maybe touching or unexpected that happened while filming?
That’s something that everyone will have to tune in to see!
And we will! Don’t forget to check out Bringing Up Ballers on Lifetime Wednesdays’s at 10pm ET/PT and go to mylifetime.com to catch up on missing episodes.
Interview with Stephanie Hodgson