‘I am one of the lucky ones’ – Meet the Nigerian-American WNBA star who has built a 7-figure enterprise

Abu Mubarik June 14, 2021
Chinenye "Chiney" Ogwumike, a Nigerian-American professional women's basketball player. Photo: Chinenye "Chiney" Ogwumike/Forbes

Chinenye “Chiney” Ogwumike is a Nigerian-American professional women’s basketball player who is making seven figures as an entrepreneur. Since joining the WNBA, she has sustained two career-threatening injuries.

“In every calamity, there is an opportunity,” as the saying goes. Ogwumike nursed a business plan while out injured and executed it to perfection. She has now built a diverse career across broadcasting, WNBA, speaking engagements, social advocacy, and endorsements, according to Forbes.

Making an average of $114,695 per season in the WNBA, Ogwumike has built a 7-figure enterprise through her business ventures, broadcast opportunities, speaking engagements, and partnerships, among others, according to her agent, Allison Galer.

“I never expected to have a career in broadcasting but I’ve always wanted to have a platform to show that our generation is powerful and that unique perspectives matter,” she said. “I didn’t always know what that platform would look like, and to be honest, many of my initial opportunities were those that top-level professional athletes would not even consider.”

In 2020, she became the first Black woman and WNBA player to co-host a national daily ESPN Radio show. This was after the popular sport broadcasting network announced her as a co-host of the Chiney and Golic Jr.

“Once I was in the door, I loved it,” she shared. “It was the closest thing to playing a game. Millions of people are watching. You have to be prepared, and most importantly, you have to be yourself.”

Aside from co-hosting on ESPN and commenting mainly on basketball, she is also expanding her scope into other sports as an analyst. In 2020, she opted out of the WNBA season to take up a role as an executive producer of an upcoming ESPN Films documentary on the 2020 WNBA season.

According to Forbes, the documentary seeks to explore social justice and how some in the WNBA went against Atlanta Dream co-owner and Senator Kelly Loeffler, who criticized the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The Stanford graduate now wants to open doors for others who look like her. According to her, Black people must create opportunities for one another. Ogwumike also wants “Blacks to be our heroes.” According to her, “We also have to think about hiring differently and be more inclusive.”

In every endorsement deal she signs, she makes sure to include social advocacy or other give-back components. “It’s also not just about giving money, but more so about showing up and doing work on the ground,” she said.

In 2014, she launched a fundraising competition to raise money for UNICEF programs focusing on girl’s education in order to provide scholarships for female teachers and establish safe spaces for girls.

Few WNBA athletes can make seven figures, and Ogwumike considers herself lucky. “I feel lucky – me having the ESPN radio job and being a WNBA All-Star — I said yes to a whole bunch of opportunities. I am one of the lucky ones, knowing that most people aren’t,” she said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 14, 2021


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