Sister Act - Ogwumike Style
Chiney Ogwumike wraps up her senior season at Standford with her sights set on the Sweet 16, Elite 8 and the coveted NCAA Championship...but there is more. The WNBA Draft is just around the corner and Chiney, like Nneka, is touted to be a WNBA #1 pick. From thrills, spills, moments, memories and everything in-between, big sister Nneka is giving Sparks fans a glimpse into their shared experiences during Chiney's journey to the WNBA Draft.
Shooting for the Stars
By Nneka Ogwumike
All my life, being the oldest daughter has always been the characteristic I used to define myself. In everything I do, whether it's school, practicing the piano, working on basketball, or any other interests or hobbies, I've considered “Big Sis” to be synonymous with role model. Even if being a student-athlete didn't take me as far as I've come in my career, I always knew I was a role model to at least three people. I worked my hardest to set the best example I could for my younger sisters and, I must say, watching them grow and mature is the greatest gift of all.
Some two years ago, I attended rookie orientation and prepared for the 2012 WNBA Draft, I will never forget the nerves and energy surrounding my monumental transition. There was anxiety and thrill in the air that I, and my fellow draftees, will never shake. Now that I can refer to myself as somewhat of a veteran, it's time to watch my best friend enjoy the same fabulous experience.
With this, it's really simple:
Chiney, I couldn't be prouder of you and never expected anything less from you as a sister, teammate, and in your flourishing career. Shoot for the stars, lasso the moon…and then some! This is only the beginning and I wish your experience to be as memorable, if not more, than my own. Be you, be true, and enjoy every moment of this glorious ride.
Memories to Moments
By Nneka Ogwumike
I've never been much of a history student, but times like this almost force you to reminisce on such spectacular moments. I can't recall a time when I've experienced people more focused, hungrier, happier; more excited, restless and anxious; the list can go on forever. A series of events, unfortunate for many and fulfilling for a dwindling few, lead to the most anticipated conquest of the year: the Final Four.
Since seizing my first regional championship back in 2009, I've been asked a spectrum of questions: How did it feel to get to the Final Four? Was it difficult? What was your toughest challenge? What was your favorite city? The questions come in all forms, but my most favorite question of all will always be: Will you miss playing with Chiney? Well, just as the rhyme goes, “Got that S on my chest. We're about to ace this test,” that question was always a no-brainer.
Playing with my sister is one regret I'll never have. Few can brag about being able to attend Stanford University with a sibling, let alone compete in the Final Four with one. There's nothing like spending special times with special people. Those moments with Chiney are ones I was blessed enough to share with my best friend. We were both intoxicated by the energy of the Final Four that made for unforgettable experiences with one another.
Now, looking from the outside in, I have a different kind of perspective. I enjoyed my time with Chiney, but now it's time to see what she's built from our collective framework. Supporting her from the bleachers reminds me of the little lima bean I planted years back in elementary school. What started as a tiny seed has germinated into a beautiful plant with branches and sustenance. It fills my heart to know that I contributed towards something that has so wonderfully grown. I can't help but feel pride.
As gut wrenching as it may feel to watch Chiney instead of being on the court with her, she holds her own, and then some of others. As our legacy and this Final Four journey continue, I want nothing more than to be know as Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney's sister.
Let the Good Times Roll
by Nneka Ogwumike
After arriving from China, it's been wonderful being home. Though my overseas experience playing in Guangdong was one to remember, I've had the opportunity to enjoy some rest and quality time with my family, most especially with my sister, Chiney.
It's not often that we are not supporting each other while playing together, but, since my graduating Stanford, it's what we look forward to the most; supporting each other. Since returning from my second year overseas, I've realized that much of my schedule revolves around catching her games and helping her as she transitions from college to the professional level. My daily conversations with Chiney involve several pieces of advice, suggestions, and preparations for her future and exciting times ahead of her. But, it's never a real conversation without her myriad of plans to take over the world (haha)!
In between our frequent pow wows, I've been able to follow Chiney from her senior night, to the Pac12 Tournament, and, now, Stanford's NCAA tournament run. There's nothing like supporting your best friend! After spending so much time growing within each other, it's even more fulfilling to experience each other grow without the presence of the other. I'm VERY proud of Chiney. I have found that I've rubbed off on her just as much as she has on me. Chiney is someone to prepare for in every sense of the word. With this, I look forward to sharing our joint experience as she blossoms in this new chapter of her life.
Let the good times roll!