Originally from Flint, Michigan, Pamela McGee and her son JaVale are part of a unique chapter in basketball history. The first WNBA-NBA mother-son combination, these basketball stars are part of Mom’s Got Game, a reality series which debuted on January 18 on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Following Pamela’s life in Los Angeles, footage for the program was also shot during the NBA off-season in Denver. While many references were made to their hometown of Flint, Michigan, no footage was shot there. According to producers, if ratings warrant a second season, there are plans to base some new episodes around a visit to the area.
The unique dynamic in their family relationship is that Pamela is actually the business manager of JaVale’s career. Known affectionately as a Mommager, she is tirelessly attempting to build a positive image for JaVale, a former first round pick of the Washington Wizards. Currently competing as a centre with the Denver Nuggets, he signed a four-year, $44 million contract in July 2012. As a side note, his father, George Montgomery, was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1985.
Pamela has carved a remarkable sporting legacy on the hardcourt. At Flint Northern High School, she was part of a team that posted a cumulative 75-0 record during her years there, complemented by back-to-back state titles. With her twin sister Paula, the two would compete at the NCAA level for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans. Of note, future WNBA rivals Cynthia Cooper and Cheryl Miller were teammates at USC. This fantastic foursome would help the Trojans to back-to-back NCAA titles.
Playing alongside Miller and the likes of Anne Donovan (who became the first woman to try out for an NBA team); she would win a gold medal in basketball at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. A member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, her coach in 1984 was co-Hall of Famer, Pat Summitt.
Later in her career, California would play another memorable role in her career. From USC to the Summer Games, she would become a member of the Sacramento Monarchs inaugural season in the WNBA. The second overall pick of the Monarchs in the 1997 WNBA Draft, she was 34 at the time. In addition, her daughter Imani, a former McDonald’s All-American is a basketball player for the University of Texas at Austin, earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2013.
Having turned 50 years young in the summer of 2013, Pamela’s personal milestone is one of the key storylines in the program. From the transition of turning 50 to watching her son follow in her footsteps as a professional basketball player, their bond is a focal point for viewers.
Originally titled “Millionaire Mama’s Boy”, elements of comedy define the tone of the program. While nothing was scripted, there are certainly no moments of drama for effect. Other family members that appear in the program include cousins Marcus Coleman, Kendra Hatchett and Pam’s other sister, Alayna McGee-Gilbert.
While Pamela was essential in helping JaVale sign his lucrative contract, the program also focuses on the remainder of the family ensuring that she enjoys her life. Having made many sacrifices as a single mother, she is a strong woman who has given a lot of herself.
As a breast cancer survivor, Pamela is also a motivational speaker, providing inspiration to others while preaching the importance of family. Having successfully managed JaVale’s career, she is also starting to increase her clientele, as other young basketball players have sought her services. As she commences the next phase of her life, it is her time to shine and the program serves as a launching pad for what promises to be a fun ride.