We love JaVale McGee, star of the Denver Nuggets and favorite of our friends over at Highly Questionable. But did you know that JaVale's mom, Pam, is a fantastic person too? With her OWN reality series, Mom's Got Game, Pam has been taking us inside her world as not only JaVale's manager - but as a successful businesswoman and strong single parent. As the show airs its finale tonight, we spoke with Pam to discuss her move into reality TV.
"I felt that when the project was brought to me, we didn't need to do reality TV. I have my life and career and my son is a pro basketball player," said Pam, who was herself a star athlete for USC and in the WNBA. "But then I thought about it more, and recognized the need to have more positive images of black families and black women in general on TV. Holly Jacobs at Sony saw the potential of the show and wanted to do the same kind of show that I did.
"I feel we're in a paradigm shift," she continued. "This is the year of the woman. Women are not the damsels in distress and we don't need to be taken care of by a man. I felt that was an important message to convey."
Mom's Got Game isn't another reality show glamorizing the lives of celebrities. The approach of the show is that it focuses on a family that just happens to be famous. Pam considers the highlights of the show to be "The relationship between me and my son. The relationships between my girls and I. The ins and outs of the life of an NBA guy. And in the end, that our family's just like your family."
Of course, professional athletes get enough scrutiny in the media just by doing their jobs; say the wrong thing, and they'll make all the wrong headlines. So was Pam concerned about reality TV impacting her son's already high-profile career? "No, because we're a pretty transparent family. We don't invade any of his NBA time," she explained. "We only shoot the show in the summer, and he only shoots for 20 days in the summer. Because at the end of the day, he is a basketball player. And that's why it's called Mom's Got Game."
"It wasn't all that different for me considering I had all my girls there with me. That made it a blast," she continued. "I think our producers really did a good job of just showing our lives. I'm really proud of the project."
When she's not filming the show or managing her son's career, Pam has a number of charitable endeavors. "I'm on the board at the Flint, Michigan Odyssey House, where I reunite women with their children. These women have suffered from drug and alcohol addiction [and] I help them to recover and reunite with their kids," she told us. "I also help to support foster care agencies."
Ultimately, she's hoping that TV audiences understand "That our story is like [that of] so many women. For single mothers to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if you just stay on your sons, speak into their lives and let them know that they can be men of destiny."
Mom's Got Game airs its first-season finale tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on OWN. For more on Pam, you can also visit her official website (pamelamcgee.com).