Dec 31, 2016
At the end of each year we tend to look back at the highs and lows of the past year, what inspired and upset us as fans, and who were the standouts for whatever the reason.
While 2016 certainly had its downside, with the passing of icons in entertainment, and distressing social and political events, women's basketball had a pretty phenomenal year, one where one could easily honor many achievements.
There were great coaching performances (Geno Auriemma winning NCAA and Olympic titles, Brian Agler winning WNBA title), college performances (Breanna Stewart leading UConn to its fourth title, Kelsey Plum dominating the 2016-17 season), international successes (Diana Taurasi's three-point barrages in the Olympics), and professional success (Minnesota and Los Angeles giving us an epic WNBA final).
Here at Dishin & Swishin, we spent our year end look back time searching for something more; something or rather someone, that went beyond on the court success. We asked the question, who is the person that surpassed court performance to impact people with their persona and aura. In other words who is the 2016 "Ambassador of Women's Basketball," the person that we want representing the game to anyone we would want to introduce or discuss women's basketball with.
The answer came quickly and easily: WNBA MVP and Champion Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, our first Dishin & Swishin Ambassador of Women's Basketball.
On the court, Ogwumike was phenomenal. A quiet confidence and determination that was finely tuned by years competing against the best in high school, college, and both international and WNBA play. She was third in the league in scoring, third in rebounding, and first in field goal percentage. Agler's system encouraged Ogwumike to spread her wings, become the number one option on offense despite having talented teammates like Candace Parker and Kristi Tolliver, and stretch her game to include three-point shooting and ball handling.
When the Sparks eliminted the Lynx in the WNBA finals on, what else, a second chance basket by Ogwumike, she joined an elite group that has one both MVP and the WNBA championship in the same season.
Off the court, Ogwumike has used her Stanford education to be socially and politically active. She has been an avid supporter of UNICEF, in particular raising awareness of girls' issues in Nigeria. At the end of the season, with the retirement of Tamika Catchings as a player and players' union president, former VP Ogwumike agreed to become the new president of the WNBA Players Association so she can be more involved in growing the WNBA for the players and its fans.
It is all of this combined that make Nneka Ogwumike a very special part of women's basketball, and a person we would want to represent the game we love.
So, how to turn our choice of the soft-spoken Nneka, a person not fond of singing her own praises into a podcast? That was an easy choice too; turn to the most vocal member of the Ogwumike family, sister Chiney.
It is great to welcome CHiney Ogwumike back to Dishin & Swishin, and while we do discuss Chiney's recent health woes and how she is doing, it was great to talk to Chiney about her big sister.
Chiney discusses on the podcast:
We hope you have enjoyed the new website Dishin & Swishin debuted in 2016, and you continue to find our podcasts here and on itunes.
Thank you for listening and for following @DishNSwish on twitter. If there is something or someone you would like to hear on a podcast, don't hesitate to contact us!
Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year to you all, and as always, enjoy the podcast!