Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s flawless transition to the pros is just the first step

I had a great time putting together this feature on super-rookie Nnemkadi Ogwumike.

I remember watching then-freshman Ogwumike in March, 2009 address the media at the Pac-10 Conference, and her maturity struck me then. But this past April, at the Final Four, I knew I had to go more in depth due to her reaction to losing in the semifinals (first paragraph of the story). Talking to Ogwumike numerous times since then in Sparks post-game interviews, I am convinced she’s really a 40-year-old stuck in a body that is 22.

I interviewed both Chiney Ogwumike and Ify Ogwumike – their mother – for the story. I found myself wanting to adopt Chiney, and being grateful that Ify is a middle school principal, which allows her to extend her influence to numerous young people.

Chiney shared an interesting anecdote with me: she is the “fire” of the relationship with her sister, and Nneka is the “ice.” And they both even each other out in that respect.

For whatever reason, some are still underestimating Nneka Ogwumike, even as she’s stormed into the WNBA and put up the numbers she has. But that won’t last for long.