While “Basketball Wives” the movie is still said to be in the pre-production stage, the mastermind behind the film adaptation is firing back at an onslaught of backlash. Shaunie O’ Neal, the ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal and executive producer of “B-Ball Wives,” is said to be behind a pitch accepted by Fox Searchlight for the new film. As previously reported, O’Neal and Jumping the Broom writer Tracey Edmonds are working together on the as yet untitled new project.

In a new interview with VIBE, Shaunie discusses the forthcoming film that she says will tell an “empowering” story of a woman entering into the world of NBA life, unlike the story of seemingly always angry women portrayed on TV.

“It’s fictional. It’s a movie. … I see people on Twitter saying, ‘Oh god, you guys gon’ take that and turn it into a movie?’ You don’t take a reality show and make it a movie. At least I wouldn’t,” said O’ Neal. “… Even though it has to do with basketball life, it’s not actually taking ‘Basketball Wives’ from TV and making it a movie. And it’s not about women sitting around arguing or lunching all the time,” she added. “It’s an actual story. It’s a love story. It’s an empowering story.

O’Neal also mentioned that with the movie she’s enjoying have more control over the characters’ actions, a far cry from what’s she allowed to do on the VH1 reality program. Additionally she says she finds it “redeeming” and sees it as a chance to show people “what she’s about.”

“It was important for me to have other outlets outside of ‘Basketball Wives’ to represent myself and who I really am and what I really would like to put out there,” said O’ Neal. “Because, again, I did reality TV and I can’t control that. I can’t control how everybody acts and what everybody sees. This, I can control [laughs]. If I come and I say, ‘This is what I envision, this is what I feel, this is what I see,’ with the help of others, we sit around and collaborate on how this vision can come alive and how we can make it entertaining and how we can make people interested.”

“We sat around and talked about this for a couple months and I was so eager to make it happen because I needed some other ways to almost redeem myself. Like, this is not what I’m about people, [laughs] so let me show you,” she added. –danielle canada