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Chiney Ogwumike Strives For Excellence On And Off The Court
By Khari Jones, Jr., Contributing Writer
Published March 12, 2021

Sparks center Chiney Ogwumike (Courtesy photo)

The multifaceted star Chiney Qgwumike re-signed with the Sparks, and she will continue her stardom in Los Angeles.  The two-time All-Star is wearing many hats, producing ESPN films, broadcasting, and the WNBA Vice-President. Ogwumike was apart of history when she helped secure the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Houston native is the epitome of Black Excellence. Ogwumike is showcasing that WNBA players are more significant than basketball. She’s exemplifying that athletes can push the culture forward while contributing to a winning organization.

March is Women’s History Month and Ogwumike mentioned that she’s proud to be apart of the WNBA. She noted their league is full of women focused on things bigger than sports. “I want to use this time to shout the amazing women, incredible of the WNBA. The 144 women have not only held it down on the court but, most importantly, things off the court that matter the most through our collective solidarity. It’s great to be a league. That is so much more.”

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The WNBA continues to prove they need just as much coverage as the NBA. Recently, Renee Montgomery became a member of the Atlanta Dream ownership group. A significant time in history for Black women. 

Ogwumike says, “It’s a testament to the WNBA players for pushing boundaries and breaking norms. Renee being apart of the ownership group is exactly what we for, representation, visibility, and authenticity. It’s been great to see players become people with leadership positions that are necessary for our game.” She states it’s great to see Renee transition from player to now ownership.

 Ogwumike, and her sister Nneka Ogwumike is continuing to lead the charge. For the first time in twelve years, a WNBA player has been featured in a solo commercial outside of basketball. Ogwumike partnered with Doordash for her commercial and is leading by demonstration for women empowerment. She noted that her campaign is about celebrating women in honor of International Women’s Day. 

Ogwumike understands her journey is different; even though she is in front of the camera more often, basketball is still first. She states, “It’s not easy. I think because my two jobs are really fun, they are all passions of mine. They stem from basketball, so it doesn’t feel like work. Whether it’s preparing my mind for tv, or preparing my mind for a workout, or preparing myself thinking how we are going to keep making strides as a league overall.”

Ogwumike says she feels immensely grateful to have a position where she can do both. She brings value to the Sparks and her team at ESPN2.

Nneka is a natural-born leader, according to her sister Chiney. “I feel qualified to say that because she’s lead me ever since I’ve taken my first breath of life. I continue to have fun riding her coattail and following my big sis through every step of the way.” She says she’s glad they are apart of a team that will allow continuing to shine.

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The Sparks have new faces on their roster, but Ogwumike states that won’t change their goals of winning a championship. “We’ve always known no matter who is out there, the mission remains the same, that’s the energy that I’m bringing back, and that’s what everybody is going to be on. Making the best out of what we have.”

One of the most annoying things Ogwumike hears is being asked about her basketball career. “I’ve never once wavered basketball. I’m going to train. That’s just has always been apart of my routine. Even though a lot of people have asked, it’s never crossed my mind to stop,” says Ogwumike.

With all the challenges Ogwumike faced throughout her career, she understands the game can be taken at any time. She has a huge appreciation for playing the game and talking about the game she loves. “A lot of athletes came to that feeling of recognition during the pandemic over the last months.

Ogwumike said one of her goals is to push herself on and off the court and represent Black culture. During the election, Ogwumike encouraged people to vote and create change.

 

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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