*The new Lifetime docuseries, “Bringing Up Ballers,” follows five Chicago area moms and their talented boys who are making all the right plays on the court to get them to pro-status.
The drama debuted Wednesday night (March 1) and unfolds over six episodes as viewers watch this spunky group of women balance motherhood, their always complicated love lives, and their hustle as Chicago’s hottest entrepreneurs.
“Bringing Up Ballers” moms and kids featured are:
Johanna (@johannaleia) is a former Ford model who now runs a successful youth basketball camp. Her son Amari is only 12, but he is already playing up against 15 and 16-year-olds.
Nikki (@shenikkib) is always the loudest mom in the gym. She’s a real estate broker and owner of a basketball apparel line. Her 14-year-old son Nimari has been a nationally ranked player since the 5th grade.
Tiffany (@basketballmom_o) is a baller mom from the suburbs who runs a successful custom auto repair business. Tiffany has five kids but admits to devoting much of her time to 15-year-old Michael who she believes has a real shot of going to the NBA.
Heather (@heather.b.williams) is salon owner whose ex-husband, Aaron Williams, played in the NBA for 15 years. Aaron spends as much time as he can coaching daughters Danyelle and Cameron, and 12-year old Aaron Jr., who all attend elite Chicago schools and play on several basketball teams.
Peytyn (PeytynWillborn) is a self-proclaimed alpha of all the women, owning several businesses including Chicago’s only black-owned Italian restaurant. Her son George, 18, is a student at the University of San Antonio, but if Peytyn had her way, her baby would be studying closer to home.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with the delightful Ms. Peytyn about the new reality series, the baller mom dynamic, and how she keeps her budding baller grounded.
Check out our Q&A below.
READ RELATED STORY: Muslims Make Wu Tang Movie in China to Get the World’s Attention
When did you first realize you had an exceptional athlete on your hands?
Peytyn: When he was four-years-old. When we would go shopping, you know how they sell those summer, colorful balls in the little baskets? When I would take George grocery shopping, he would be fascinated with those balls, so I would buy those balls for him…one of every color, because I wanted him to have every beautiful ball that was in that basket. So he would take those balls and he would bounce them around the house like a basketball. So I talked to Big George, at the time we were married, and said, “Look how he’s bouncing that ball. My son could play basketball!”
He was four-years-old, and out in Country Club Hills they have a basketball program for itty bittys. They called it The Bittys, and I signed him up and he was awesome. The trials… he made the first round and they loved him, and so, he bounced those balls around the house.
In the premiere episode, we see your son George is still undecided on college, and you wanted him to pick a school close to home. He’s currently a student at the University of San Antonio. How do you feel about him studying away from home?
Peytyn: I’m very lonely. I’m an empty-nester. My daughter is 26, my son is gone… no man, by choice… (laughs). I miss my son. That was my man. I go (visit) at least once-twice a month. He told me, “Mom, please don’t come next month. Please. I’m gone mom, get you a life!” He’s right! He’s gone to college and I’m still treating him like he’s still in high school. So, I’m trying to find me a life.
How do you make sure arrogance and conceit doesn’t dominate your son’s personality as he’s pursuing his hoop dreams?
Peytyn: This is exactly what I tell him, I say, “George, God is a jealous God.” He said, “What you mean by that?” I said, “He must come first. Arrogance is a sin. Being conceited is a sin, so you must show focus more toward God than basketball and arrogance.” My kids… I raised them up like that. We are the most down-to-earth people you can meet. What you see is what you get. And I tell them being down-to-earth is more fun than being arrogant.
Do you ever push him to strive to me more than just a basketball player?
Peytyn: Absolutely! His major is business. He took after me.
What’s your relationship like with the other women on the show, and what can viewers expect from this dynamic of baller moms?
Peytyn: I have great respect for the other moms. One thing about it, they already know how I am. If you say something to me I’m going to say something back. Now when I say it back, you may not be able to handle it. So don’t say nothing to me that you don’t want me to say something that you can’t handle. But I have a great relationship with the moms. I love ‘em all. I respect them. I’m the oldest of all the moms, so I consider myself the alpha of the group. If you look at the animal channel, they try to take down the oldest one — but I’m not the oldest one who’s slow and sick. I’m old in age. I don’t cross them and they don’t cross me. If they cross me, I’mma bite ‘em.
How do you balance being a busy mother, this reality series, your son’s hoop dreams and your business ventures?
Peytyn: Well, when you’re born to do this, it comes easy. When you’re born to do what you got to do, it comes natural for me. I’ve been a firecracker since I came out the womb. The doctor told my mother, “Oh, she’s something!” She pushed me out and I looked at him and I blinked my eye, one eye, and he said, “Oh, she’s a pistol!”
What type of advice do you give George about staying focused at school and not getting caught up in campus life — which can often times, as we hear about in the news, lead to all sort of messy legal drama with the ladies?
Peytyn: That’s tough because every parent, we all sit our kids down, even if they’re not athletes, we sit them down and we try to remind that if you go that route, then first of all, shame on you because you was not raised in that environment. Do not embarrass me. Do not embarrass yourself, and I tell him, “George, I give you and your sister all the knowledge, all the tools to build your house out of brick. If you go off and build your house out of stick, then that’s the house you gon’ live in. The money that I earn today I’m going to spend it on me. I have life insurance for you. That’s what you’re going to get when I’m gone, because I have given you all the tools to build your house out of brick. If you go and mess it up….”
It’s not always a talk. It’s a look that you give them. And you give ‘em that look and they know you’re serious with that look. My kids know. It’s the tone. It’s the look, and it’s the words. So hopefully they listening and they looking, cause I don’t play.
What advice do you have for other moms who are bringing up ballers?
Peytyn: Let them bounce the ball in the house. If they have talent, and you see the talent, embrace their talent, and if it comes from them bouncing the ball in the house, let them bounce the ball in the house.
Tune in to “Bringing Up Ballers” Wednesdays at 10/9c on Lifetime. Missed the premiere episode? Get caught up here.