Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander

Hoopz earned her nickname as a reality star on such VH1 classics as Flavor of Love and I Love Money, but it’s only now that she’s really begun to live up to it…by dating Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal. She’s made quite the impression around town, starting with that time on Halloween she dressed her beau in drag and stepped out as “Shaquita’s pimp.” We caught up with her just as she was leaving the gym after playing — of course — hoops.

Were you just playing with Shaq?
No, no, no. He was with his trainer. I was on the court next to him, ripping on the boys a little bit.

Nice. Have you played one-on-one with the big fella yet?
I have, yeah. We play a lot.

Who wins?
Uh, I do, of course! Obviously, come on.

You’ve got like two feet on him, right?
No, I got him on the outside. But then, if I start winning, he [Shaq makes a growling noise in the background] — that’s him — he gets mad and [still growling] he’ll stand underneath and just keep dunking it. That’s like cheating, you know? [Growling stops.]

It sounds like he wasn’t happy with that description.

No, he wasn’t at all.

Aside from playing ball, what are you up to these days?
Right now I’m in preproduction for another reality show that’ll basically be following my life. I’m working on branding myself as a women’s fitness guru, but in a whole different style. I hate going to the gym — I like more explosive workouts, like MMA or boxing. Obviously, with Shaquille, it’ll be entertaining.

You guys have a place in Sudbury, right? Are you liking it out there?
I think it’s amazing. We love to eat, and we find different restaurants. Our favorite is Coach Grill — it’s close to the house.

So how was it the first time you and Shaq went out?
It was in Vegas, and I was like, “Oh God, you’re actually cute.”

You sound so surprised.
Yeah, I was surprised. I actually looked at him and I’m like, “Oh, okay, cutie pie.” We’ve been together every day ever since that. He came to Tennessee, where I lived, and I took him to the lake. We went fishing. We jumped off the rock quarry — we had a blast.