Chase and UNINTERRUPTED have partnered to create “Kneading Dough,” a sequence of intimate and trustworthy conversations with skilled athletes about how they’ve navigated their distinctive monetary and profession pathways. We hope our readers are impressed, knowledgeable, and empowered to make the very best monetary selections. To look at the total video of Nneka Ogwumik, click on right here.
On this video, WNBA ahead Nneka Ogwumike talks about enjoying skilled basketball on two continents, in addition to her monetary journey from establishing a 401(ok) throughout her rookie season, to working towards her long-term dream of working for a sports activities membership—or, sometime, turning into president of an expert sports activities league.
Ogwumike, a 27-year-old initially from suburban Houston, is one in every of 4 daughters of Nigerian immigrant mother and father who anticipated nice success. A 6-foot-2 all-star ahead for the Los Angeles Sparks, Ogwumike started enjoying basketball at a younger age—after realizing she was too tall for gymnastics. She quickly discovered that her top, and expertise, may pay for her school schooling, and extra.
She helped lead Stanford College to 4 Ultimate 4 appearances, turned the No. 1 decide within the 2012 WNBA draft, and gained a WNBA championship with the Sparks in 2016 by making the game-winning shot to clinch the title over the Minnesota Lynx.
Feminine athletes work double responsibility to remain afloat
The common wage within the WNBA begins at round $50,000 and caps at $110,000. By comparability, the beginning wage for the NBA is about $560,000, so there’s a big earnings disparity between the 2 leagues. For a lot of WNBA gamers, they want extra earnings, and they also play abroad through the low season or have aspect companies.
Even Ogwumike, who earns the WNBA’s most annual wage, performs seven months out of the 12 months in Russia, with the Dynamo Kursk squad, earlier than coming to Los Angeles to begin the WNBA season. She gained a EuroLeague title with Dynamo Kursk in April 2017.
Ogwumike thinks the resourcefulness – and plenty of skills – of the gamers inside the WNBA is without doubt one of the finest issues concerning the league.
“That is the gorgeous factor about our league is main majority of us have levels. And so you’ve those that personal franchises. You could have those that began their very own companies. Some have hair strains, ice cream shops and so they’re working in several corporations, even interning for the NBA. You could have numerous very formidable ladies within the league,” she says.
“And, clearly due to us having the ability to play abroad, and expertise a distinct life in a distinct space, it actually broadens our horizon and that enables for some actually colourful experiences,” she says.
And since she is the president of the union for the WNBA, Ogwumike actively works to shut the earnings hole.
“It is getting higher and as soon as there are extra eyes on us, extra ears on us, it’s going to carry extra enterprise and extra non-public entities that wish to help us,” she says.
Pleasure in being frugal
Though she enjoys the occasional splurges and responsible pleasures—dinners at Nobu whereas in Russia, a pair of diamond earrings—Ogwumike takes pleasure in being frugal. She considers her finest enterprise choice one she did not make—she’s by no means bought a automobile.
“I am not going to purchase a automobile till I get a home, and I haven’t got a home, so… the place am I going to park it?” she asks.
Ogwumike is not left stranded although. She instruments round Los Angeles in a league-issued rental and depends on an on-call driver in Russia who’s obtainable to her and her teammates 24/7.
“There are moments when like I am driving into the Staples Middle and like I see my teammates with their automobiles and I am driving in my rental,” Ogwumike says, laughing. “I’ve bought a pleasant outfit on and I come out of my rental automobile, and I am considering, ‘I am not going to step out of this rental automobile.’ The financial savings are going to be value it at some point, however there is no motive for me to have a automobile proper now.” And when she retailers, she maintains an outdated behavior she established in highschool.
“It doesn’t matter what retailer I’m going into, the primary place I at all times go to is the clearance rack,” she says. “I work from the underside up.”
Be taught from those that got here earlier than you
Ogwumike paid shut consideration throughout her WNBA rookie orientation in 2012 when the group started discussing retirement. Ogwumike mentioned she has contributed the utmost quantity every year to her 401(ok) since that season. She’s additionally buying funding properties together with her mom.
When making monetary selections, she advises youthful athletes to heed the recommendation of veteran gamers, particularly ones near the tip of their careers and seeking to make their subsequent transfer.
“On the subject of managing your funds, it’s a must to hearken to these earlier than you,” she says. “Whether or not somebody’s made roughly than what you make or what you’ll make, they have been round longer and possibly have a higher perspective on the right way to spend cash.”
Life past the courtroom
When she retires from basketball, Ogwumike needs to remain in sports activities and work in a front-office place.
“I wish to return to highschool,” she says. “I’ve thought of it a very long time and I wish to get a grasp’s diploma in public relations and contain myself within the sports activities world once more, possibly because the president of a membership or perhaps a league.”
Shannon Shelton Miller is a Chase Information contributor. Her work has appeared within the Detroit Free Press, the Orlando Sentinel, and the Huffington Publish, amongst different media retailers.