Chiney Ogwumike’s work week includes two dream jobs that combine to make one nightmarish travel and work schedule.
The former Rookie of the Year is a starting forward for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and a full-time NBA analyst for ESPN. With both gigs keeping in her in the hoops spotlight, Ogwumike walked reporters through an especially wild two-day stretch that will have her practice with the Sun, travel to work a game for ESPN and then hit the road right away to play in a game herself on ESPN2.
“Basically, this morning I had practice,” Ogwumike told reporters on Wednesday. “After that I drove from practice to Boston... So I’m about to get some shots leading up until the game. I’m telling people I’m going to leave after the first quarter or maybe even earlier than that because the game is late, so I can drive back, and pick up some friends and family who are here for ‘The Showdown’”.
“The Showdown” is a game against her sister, Nneka, and the Los Angeles Sparks.
Her schedule looks like this:
- Wednesday morning — practice in Connecticut
- Wednesday afternoon — drive to TD Garden in Boston for Celtics-Cavs Game 5
- Wednesday afternoon — conference call with the media during drive to Boston
- Wednesday pre-Celtics game — get shots up
- Wednesday night — work through the first quarter of the Celtics game
- Wednesday night — drive back to Connecticut with family
- Thursday morning — prepare to play in a game
- Thursday night — play against older sister Nneka on ESPN2
After a professional basketball practice the day before a key game, Ogwumike is traveling more than two hours to be present at the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals game. She can’t even stay the whole time.
“Then I’ll go home and prepare for the game. That’s like the next 30 hours pretty much.”
That’s the responsibility Ogwumike takes on having two jobs which require way more than the average 9-5 hours.
“For me, I think it was a lot before she was full-fledged in the WNBA season,” her older sister and former league MVP Nneka said as part of the same media call. “Now I really don’t know how it works out. If she’s not practicing, she’s watching games. If it’s a day off, and she’s not watching games, she’s off at ESPN Kansas or off in New York or in Boston.
“It would be a lot for anyone. It takes someone who is mentally sound to balance all of that, and she does it gracefully. For the most part, she makes it look easy, but for a fact I know it’s not.”
Nneka knows that firsthand now, after she returned early in December from her European season with Dynamo Kursk in Russia and spent time with Chiney.
“I was able to live a day in the life of Chiney for about 48 hours,” Nneka said. “This was before training camp, before she was doing any serious practices and had a more regiment schedule. I got there and she’s trying to move into her apartment... The next morning she’s like ‘Well we gotta wake up at 5 to go to work’ and I’m like ‘What?’ I had no issues with it because I wanted to experience it. But she’s like a business woman. It was kind of freaky.”
Chiney hasn’t lost sight of her team’s big game though. She has a strategy in mind.
“Hopefully I’ll bring Nneka back some Krispy Kreme or something,” she says, “fatten her up for the matchup.”