In season three of VH1′s hit reality series Basketall Wives viewers were introduced to the much- maligned Meeka Claxton, wife of retired NBA star Speedy Claxton and focal point of more than a few disagreements and altercations with her fellow cast members. But beyond the drama we saw on the small screen Mrs. Claxton is an accomplished businesswoman and loving mother and wife. BE Next spoke to Claxton about her thriving real estate business, being an independent woman and her portrayal on the show.
BE Next: You’re more than just a basketball wife you’re also a businesswoman, tell us about your real estate company.
Meeka Claxton: Allure Realty Group is the brainchild of myself and my partner, Shiwana Scott-Reed. Before I’d even met her I was giving real estate advice to younger players, and at the time we were maybe 25 and these guys were 19 coming in buying $5 million dollar homes on $2 million dollar contracts. And as much as you want to live a certain lifestyle and be “the ballplayer” you can do that [but with] lower means. You can still watch your pennies. So I’d been giving free advice, and when I moved to Atlanta I really fell in love with Atlanta real estate, got licensed there, worked with Shiwana, who’s a broker, and she and I came up with this. I had a niche because I know the players, so what we came up with was this luxury red carpet relocation service. We’re a global relocation network. A lot of people think we’re just a real estate company and ask “well, how are you doing things globally and you’ve only got one office?” No, we’ve got two offices, which are more like call centers. We have a network all over the U.S. and also in certain countries, too, because we’ve worked with a couple of European player—so it’s growing.
Besides helping to buy and sell properties what services does your company provide?
What we do is travel for and with players during their off-season time or during the season when they may want to build or buy an off-season home and their wife or girlfriend doesn’t wanna miss a game. Or if they’re single, they can’t miss a game or practice, so we make things happen [for them]. We also have tools to present virtual tours and things like that to them. Everything we do is for their convenience. I know what it’s like to have to move mid-season and within a day and have kids and I knew that these guys needed help and that they would appreciate a service that would provide X, Y, and Z. We do so much—even stock the refrigerator and pantry of the home with the favorite items of the family before they even walk in the house.
So there’s the real estate aspect of the business and then there’s a luxury service that comes along with it?
Yeah, the service is more of our concierge service—you can call us for anything. Our very first client from five years ago is a multi-platinum producer out of Atlanta, and he still to this day calls me for everything. We do provide concierge service to all our clients at no additional cost.
When did you realize that you had this entrepreneurial spirit?
I realized that a long time ago, and it’s funny that I didn’t major in business in college because from early on I was about making my own money and never wanting to work for anybody. I was definitely the kid in Queens tryin’ to put together the lemonade stand, and they were like “No! What are you doing?” A memory that comes to mind is being with my husband when he was just my boyfriend, and we had just moved in together because he was playing and I said to myself, I refuse to be here just comfortable because I know at any moment anything can happen. We were not engaged or anything so I knew that I had to do something on my own. When we got engaged, I started the real estate company.
Unlike some wives and girlfriends of pro athletes it seems like you always wanted to make sure that you were independent with your own money. Where did those values come from?
I get that from my mom. My mom taught me early on to be an independent woman. I don’t think she knew when I was seven or eight that I’d grow up to marry a multi-millionaire, but she was married to my dad who was a stockbroker at the time and making good money, yet she was a working mom by choice. She always said you have to have your emergency money, your own account. She always instilled that in me, so I always had it in the back of my head that I need to have my own emergency funds and checking account—something that no one could touch.
Being with my husband I meet a lot of these girls you’re talking about, about 85-90% of the girls in the league are like that, and I found myself talking to some of the younger girls telling them that it would behoove them to build something for themselves outside of these guys because sometimes they’re not even engaged. And even if you’re married nothing is guaranteed. I’m definitely blessed that I have a good husband and father to my kids, but still, I’m good if he’s gone.
That’s one of the main reasons I decided to say yes and do Basketball Wives because I wanted to show that we’re not all at home eating Bon Bons on the couch with three nannies to take care of our one kid. I have two kids and no nanny, although we do have someone who can help babysit if we need because of the schedule now, but honestly both my husband and I are both hands on.
Let’s talk about the show, why did you decide to join the cast? Was it because you wanted more attention for your business and personal brand?
There was only one intention of mine when I decided to do the show. A mutual friend of Shaunie’s and myself said I should do the show and show the world and kind of represent for the ones who’re still together [with their men] because we weren’t really being represented. I said “You know what? I’ll do it.” And I thought it’d be a great chance to show a wife who’s not just sitting at home but building something outside of my husband, while at the same time we support each other one hundred percent. The dynamic is really cool between my husband and myself and we have a great little family, too—my kids are amazing. My oldest daughter is an actress-model who’s been in two independent films. That was my only intention. It had nothing to do with my brand. As far as the real estate company, we just recently got a Web site when we decided to open the doors to the military. Before then we’d been operating fine just through word of mouth. I wanted to show that we’re out here doing stuff; not just out here spending money—we do that, too—but we’re not only doing that.
Has the show had a negative effect on your brand or business?
It definitely has not affected my marriage or my business. Those are my number one concerns. But I’m a viewer, too, and I see how I was portrayed. Like I tell everyone, you’re getting the tiniest most miniscule snippet of what happened over three months. You’re not getting all of me, so you really need to get to know me. Follow me on Twitter, read more interviews with me, and to get to know the other 99%, because I’m a lot more than what people are saying [I am].
Read the rest of the interview here:
Source: Black Enterprise