It doesn’t seem that long ago that I photographed WNBA #1 draft pick Nnemkadi “Nneka” Ogwumike. The then Cypress-Fairbanks High School senior was putting up all-world numbers as one of the top players in the nation while leading her team to a three-year record of 108-2, scoring over 2200 points with nearly 1300 rebounds and…you get the picture. This young woman could play.
When we met in her school gymnasium for a portrait session, Nneka had committed to Stanford where she would play on four Final Four teams and garner a room full of honors with statistics similar to her high school career. But what impressed me more than her physical achievements was how she handled herself as a person. Ogwumike was quite possibly the most cordial and respectful person I have ever photographed. She was not new to the limelight but was patient while we changed set-ups and continually produced a smile that would melt butter. When the final frame was made, she thanked me before I could do the same and offered to help move my pile of gear. We shook hands as I told her she had already done enough and wished her luck.
I again wish Nneka good fortune with her new team, the LA Sparks.
Almost two years to the day, I was back at Cy-Fair to photograph Nneka’s younger sister, Chiney, for a similar story. Chiney followed her big sister to Stanford and is doing well. I look forward to telling that story when she gets drafted in 2014.