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Nneka Ogwumike's Nigerian roots: Are cultural values the secret to her WNBA success?

“The American Dream is ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.” For years, the American Dream has enchanted people worldwide. To attain better standards of living and have a prosperous life, every year millions of people immigrate to America and start their lives afresh. That is what was exactly in the minds of Peter Ogwumike and Ify Ogwumike when they decided to move to the USA. And now decades after their relocation, their eldest daughter Nneka Ogwumike is winning hearts with her exceptional on-court display.

Ogwumike got in an exclusive chat with ESPN to share the differences between the Nigerian and American cultures, which also reflected what the transition would have meant for her parents. Let’s look at the insight she provided into the Nigerian culture.

Nneka Ogwumike shares titbits from her Nigerian Culture

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Ogwumike revealed that her complete name is Nnemkadi Chinwe Ogwumike. She expressed that Nnemkadi meant “my mother always remains,” Chinwe translates to “God gives,” and then Ogwumike is a term used for a “warrior.” She then also went ahead to list the differences between the cultures especially in the use of brooms. The 34-year-old enumerated that she uses “different brooms.” “I mean even like washing the dishes like we never use the dishwasher. That might be also a black people thing, but probably cuz my mother’s like why I think it’s African and African kids but um, you know but then also cool,” Ogwumike added via ESPN.

Poll of the day

What aspect of Nneka Ogwumike's Nigerian culture do you find most inspiring?

Family values

Work ethic

Community spirit

Cultural pride

Ogwumike also shared about Nigerian clothes and food. “Specifically you know it’s eating certain foods you know like…we were never were confused about when my mom would make rice and stew, when she would make goat meat or egusi or okra soup or you know vegetable soup,” Ogwumike remarked when reflecting on her childhood.

 

Furthermore, she even talked about the Nigerian’s clothing sense “Understanding that you have the Ashoebi you have the Gele. You know…you have the Chafu…like you have…have all of the different things that you wear. Growing up, we didn’t necessarily know like the names of it but when we saw it we were like ‘Oh, okay’,” Ogwumike ended.

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Notably, Ify came with her husband Peter from Nigeria to the USA. The couple had immigrated to pursue their education. While Ify became an assistant school district superintendent eventually, Peter worked at Weber University and then became a technology consultant in Houston. The two, therefore, fulfilled their American Dream.

Although the hard work of Nneka Ogwumike cannot be denied. She was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks as the first overall pick in 2012. The Texas-born had an exceptional run with them before switching to the Seattle Storm this year. Hence, Ogwumike has realized her American Dream and is sure an inspiration to many who want to succeed in the USA. And on Sunday she played her most recent game against the Chicago Sky.

Nneka Ogwumike decimates the Chicago Sky

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Ogwumike scored a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds and was the highest scorer in the match. It was Ogwumike’s exploits that helped the Storm march to a victory. Her performance overshadowed the Sky rookie Angel Reese’s record-breaking night. Ogwumike along with her teammate Jewell Loyd showed her true potential on the court.

Loyd too hit 13 points as the Storm won the game eventually by an 88-84 margin. And fans will be hoping that Ogwumike continues her exceptional display in the upcoming games.

The American dream did materialize for Ogwumike and fans will be hoping that she promotes Nigerian culture and also takes the game to another level. As for now, she can concentrate on making this WNBA season memorable for herself.

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Stay tuned for more such updates, and to follow what Shaq’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, has to say about the infamous Shaq-Kobe feud, Caitlin Clark’s Olympic snub, and more, watch this video.