Prepare for a season unlike any other.
When Basketball Wives started filming new episodes in early 2020, the cast knew there was unresolved drama that needed to be addressed. But when COVID-19 hit and the Black Lives Matter movement became a national discussion, priorities began to shift resulting in a season many may not see coming.
"A lot happened within the group's dynamic in the past year and I think that instead of tearing us apart, it may have brought us closer together," cast member and executive producer Shaunie O'Neal exclusively shared with E! News. "With the pandemic on top of that, I think we as women sat back and realized what's important and how we want to be represented on national television and so many things took a priority in our lives when it came to filming television."
The ex-wife of retired NBA champ Shaquille O'Neal continued, "I'm glad we all kind of had that snap of a finger at the same time. Maybe not all, but most of us had that light bulb come up to do better and be better as women and women of color."
In previews for the new season premiering Tuesday, Feb. 9 on VH1, the entire cast including Evelyn Lozada, Malaysia Pargo, Jackie Christie and Jennifer Williams come together for an extended stay in a Southern California mansion.
And before you predict blowout fights and verbal smack-downs, Shaunie explained that this season takes on a different tone. No, not everyone is perfect all season long. But according to Shaunie, she "felt good being around a majority of these ladies."
"I think this season you'll see a different side of a lot of the ladies, a lot of growth," she shared. "It's a major change especially for those who have been watching us for years. You won't lose your favorite Evelyn one liners. You'll get all of that, but we've definitely have taken a change in how we deal with each other this season."
Shaunie added, "Jennifer's relationships in general I think everybody will be surprised with."
Back in 2010, Basketball Wives premiered and promised a rare glimpse into the lives of a group of girlfriends all linked to professional basketball players. While some cast members have stepped away for a variety of reasons, Shaunie shared that she misses Suzie Ketcham the most.
"I don't care what people think—if she was the bone collector or whatever you want to call it—she was so much fun," Shaunie joked. "You knew you were going to have a fun time."
And while the show has faced many rumors about who could possibly be joining the franchise, Shaunie set the record straight on who actually had a chance at participating.
"Tracy Mourning came very close but it just didn't work out," she revealed. "And my bestie Monique Payton who was married to Gary Payton became very close. They're my girlfriends and we have good times, good memories and I think we'd have good stories to tell the world."
As for the current cast, the mother of five made it clear that she's "not going to sit here and tell you this season everybody is just perfect and on their best behavior." Instead, they're on "their better behavior" as they face obstacles many women can relate to.
"Despite what people say about fighting and all that kind of stuff, there have been things we've shared that have helped someone," Shaunie shared. "I don't want to see the franchise end. I think we have a lot of stories still to be told."
Basketball Wives airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. only on VH1.