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For Shaquille O’Neal‘s ex-wife, Shaunie O’Neal, being a basketball wife has had its fair share of ups and downs. The 36-year-old mother of five decided to tell the untold stories of the women behind famous ball players on the hit VH1 reality show ‘Basketball Wives,’ which she executive produces.

The second season will air later next week and this time around, O’Neal has decided to step from behind the camera and share more of her own story. She tellsus that she’s single, happy and still optimistic that there are some basketball stars out there who don’t cheat on their wives. talks 20 Questions with Shaunie O’Neal. How do you feel about the success of the first season of ‘Basketball Wives’?

Shaunie O’Neal: I’m really proud of the first season. I had no idea it would have so much success. Of course, I knew it would be good. Season two, I already know. There’s so much going on, and you get to learn the ladies much more with an hour. I am even more proud of season two.

BV: Why did you feel this story was so important to share on television?

SO: Just based on people asking me at games, “Do all the ladies hang out together?” and “Who’s friends and who’s not friends?” Even girlfriends of mine would be curious, so it was like reality shows are a big thing right now, and I think this is a good idea. It took me a minute. I had the idea awhile back.

BV: Do you think basketball wives, in general, get a bad reputation?

SO: I wouldn’t have said that before all the blogs, Twitter and all that stuff that’s been new over the past few years. Now people want to say, “Oh, they’re gold diggers. They’re groupies.” There are some that are, but there are a lot of us who aren’t. Shaquille was the very first athlete that I dated, and I grew up in L.A. It’s not all of us, but I do think that we get put in that spot a lot of the time.

BV: How’d you choose the women on the series?

SO: I knew Evelyn Lozada for several years, and we were in Miami together. We decided on a city then we picked the ladies. At the time, I lived in Orlando, and it was easy to base the show out of Florida. Miami is just a hot city. I started with Evelyn because I knew her personality would be great from television. There were some ladies that didn’t pop on camera, but we eventually got the cast that we ended up with.

BV: Why’d you decide to be on the show more this season?

SO: I was getting a lot of slack from people saying, “Why don’t we see you?” When season one came around, I was going through some personal things, moving back home to L.A. with my kids, I just wanted to focus a lot more on my personal life and family. I was comfortable in the EP seat and not having to be on camera, but it was a constant talk with the network who asked me to be on more and I said “what the heck.”