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Nneka Ogwumike's longevity in the WNBA—Is it pure talent or unmatched discipline?

Food is one of the most important and fundamental blocks in our growth. More so, when speaking of athletes. It affects the way they perform and also their longevity. As the Seattle Storm star Nneka Ogwumike plays her 13th WNBA season, the 34-year-old reflects on what has helped her perform so consistently at the highest level for so many years, and a major credit for it goes to her eating habits, as per Ogwumike.

Ogwumike was present in an exclusive chat with ESPN when she spoke at length about her eating habits. Her answer gave an insight into the importance of nutrition for athletes. Let’s see what she had to say.

Nneka Ogwumike credits her food for her on-court brilliance

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Ogwumike revealed the importance of having nutritious food while also revealing that she is a foodie. However, she gave the credit for her eating habits to the veterans who taught her the basics of food consumption for an athlete when she was new to the league. “I learned about my nutrition through being raised by certain vets who were very disciplined with their bodies,” Ogwumike said, via ESPN.

Poll of the day

What do you think is Nneka Ogwumike's biggest secret to her long WNBA career?

Rigorous training

Healthy lifestyle

Mental toughness

Supportive team environment

She did not hesitate in accepting that “I love food so much and I’m not someone that, that I don’t like doing food restriction,” before enunciating that “I know that about myself I make sure what I eat I can eat a lot.”

She however acknowledged the importance of clean eating, expounding, “What I put into my body and how I recover that really helps…I’m able to perform a certain way because I feel good with what I’m doing with my body. What I’m putting in my body you know.” The Texas-born further divulged, “if I want to eat a lot then I want it to be good for my body.” And if she doesn’t, then it will show in her recovery and performance.

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Ogwumike was drafted in 2012 as the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks. She won the Rookie of the Year award during her debut season. Averaging 14 points per game, Ogwumike’s glory moment came in 2016 when she won the WNBA Championship with her team. She was also named the MVP that season. Hence, Ogwumike certainly proved her mettle and showed her potential. However, every athlete’s career has its ups and downs and Ogwumike’s journey was no different.

In the subsequent seasons, her impact diminished as the team strategies changed. She averaged 14.5 points in WNBA 2021. Though she was written off by her critics, Ogwumike bounced back in 2023 with 19.1 points per game. Therefore, she demonstrated that it was her eating habits and recovery that helped her perform exceptionally well. And now that she is playing her 13th season in the pro league with the Seattle Storm, her performances are a testament to how well-rounded she is even at this age.

Nneka Ogwumike has the center stage due to her performances

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At the moment, Ogwumike averages a whopping 17.5 points per game with 7.4 rebounds per game. Her best WNBA performance this season came against the Los Angeles Sparks when she hit 26 points with 8 rebounds. The interesting thing is that Ogwumike, even on Angel Reese’s record-breaking night, took away all the limelight as her team outperformed the Chicago Sky.

Ogwumike has been able to adjust easily to the Seattle Storm since her transfer which also shows that she knows herself well. Therefore, as they say, there is no substitute for experience.

Perhaps, now that Ogwumike has spilled the secret behind her on-court brilliance, more budding athletes will look to follow and learn from her. As for her performances, maybe Ogwumike can be the difference in the Seattle Storm lifting the cup.

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