The NBA’s All-Star Weekend is in full swing. Bringing together the brightest and most exciting players in the league for a spectacular match up in Los Angeles, Calif. While everyone is focused on the men on the court, BlackEnterprise.com took a moment to turn the spotlight on some of the women behind the scenes posting up in the boardroom and scoring big bucks. Our starting five consists of basketball wives who have stepped out on their own with noteworthy business ventures. Here’s the tip off. —Janel Martinez
After Johnson, 52, struggled to find a jean that fit just right, the denim duchess took matters into her own hands, launching CJ by Cookie Johnson, a premium jean enterprise catering to real women with curvaceous figures, in 2009. The wife of basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson aligned herself with the best in the denim business: Michael Glasser, founder of 7 For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity. Since starting her line, Johnson has made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things list for 2009 and is available in Nordstrom’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores across the country.
ALANI “LALA” VASQUEZ: POWER FORWARD The newlywed is proof that hard work really does pay off. Vasquez worked her way up from intern at an Atlanta radio station to MTV VJ, hosting shows such as Direct Effect and TRL—interviewing stars such as Beyoncé, Jay-Zand Sean “Diddy” Combs—but her career changed gears after becoming a mom. In 2008, the Latina launched Krossover Productions in collaboration with her then-fiance, Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony, film producer David Haines and actor Kevin Phillips. Vasquez has at least two reality TV shows in the works with Krossover and is one of the executive producers of Tyson, the award-winning independent documentary on former weight champion Mike Tyson.
JENNIFER WILLIAMS: SMALL FORWARD VH1 viewers know her as Evelyn Lozada’s BFF (and, of course, the wife of retired baller Eric Williams) on Basketball Wives, but Williams has a business side as well. This spring she will release her own lip gloss line Lucid Cosmetics. The spokes model for Glam Luxe Luxury Hair Extensions is also principal owner of Flirty Girl Fitness, an upscale women-only fitness center located in both Toronto and Chicago.
KIMBERLI RUSSELL: SHOOTING GUARD Not only is Kimberli the wife of retired baller Byron Russell (pictured, right) but also a personal fitness guru who specializes in group training and nutritional counseling. She started Faith N Fitness Mind, Body and Soul after becoming a mother and realizing she could share her fitness pointers. Russell has additional projects in the works, including several products released under the K Russ brand.
NIKKI SHAW: POINT GUARD When she’s not sitting court side as her husband Brian Shaw (pictured, right) is handling assistant coach duties for the Lakers, the celebrity chef is making appearances as a finalist on season 3 of the Food Network’s Next Food Network Star, Donald Trump’s The Ultimate Merger and Jamie Foxx’s reality show From G’s to Gents. Chef Nikkiis the owner of Flavor Caterer, located in Oakland, California and currently hosts Today’s Flavor on Sirius Channel 106 The Foxxhole, 102.9 KBLX in San Francisco, which is also streamed on 107.5 in New York.