On this week’s Legends Of Sport Classic episode, we revisit Andy’s 2020 conversation with 2x WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike, which was originally recorded at the start of the pandemic. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, Chiney talks to Andy about the ongoing shutdown of sports and its impact on the WNBA, her Nigerian roots and growing up in Houston, her early basketball inspirations, her sisters Nneka and Erica and memories of Kobe Bryant. Chiney also discusses her achievements and future goals with NBA Africa, as well as her role as Vice President of the WNBA Players Association and how she’s impacting the future of women’s sports. Chiney is currently a forward for the Los Angeles Sparks and has built a second career as an NBA analyst for ESPN. Original Release Date: April 24, 2020.
Other topics discussed in this episode:
1:40 Chiney’s thoughts on COVID-19, being quarantined in Houston with her family and the shutdown of sports
My dad has this saying that every disappointment is a blessing in disguise, if you allow it to be. I think we’re all disappointed to not be back in our typical day-to-day lives. I know for those in sports miss sports, but I think it has given us a beautiful opportunity to celebrate those who really are the real heroes that matter…the ones that are on the frontlines, battling in the hospitals, grocery workers, trash men and women…We get to celebrate and be fans of other people. And for me the blessing in disguise has also been the fact that I’ve been able to be home with my family.
7:20 Chiney talks about her Nigerian heritage and close knit relationship with her parents and three sisters.
13:37 Chiney discusses the Basketball Africa League, growing the game of basketball in Africa, the many ways she gives back to schools and nonprofits such as Access 2 Success in Nigeria and why.
The most fulfilling job I’ve ever done is probably working Sports Center Africa because in order to change the norms and the stereotypes as it pertains to Africa, being able to deliver the sports news to the millions of sports fans that are typically men and themselves to hear the news from a Nigerian American female athlete that has achieved her dreams, maybe that will change the way they think about girls in general and girls in sports throughout Africa.
19:29 The first time Chiney met Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie, who has become a mentor to her
24:30 Learning the game of basketball from her older sister, 7x WNBA All-Star Nneka Ogwumike
27:23 Chiney’s role with the WNBPA’s Executive Committee and the landmark 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement that resulted in increased pay and enhanced family, travel and health benefits for the league’s 144 players.
35:06 Remembering Kobe Bryant
37:42 Chiney’s off-the-court interests, including broadcasting.
I enjoy life when it’s bigger than sports…the intersection of culture and sports and our young generation, us finding our voices and advocacy. I do a lot just because I’m very grateful and I understand as a woman we have to make the most of our platform that basketball has really afforded us. It’s not like we’re going to get generational wealth from signing one contract yet…By saying “yes,” I’ve been able to experience so many different things…I am very excited that I have been given a platform to just be me, have fun, be authentic, love the game and see where it’ll take me.
40:27 Reuniting with Nneka on the Los Angeles Sparks