Chiney Ogwumike — who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks — is launching her own ESPN podcast this week

By Eric Todisco and Lindsay Kimble
June 07, 2021 01:34 PM
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Chiney Ogwumike ESPN
Chiney Ogwumike
| Credit: CLOSEUP360

Chiney Ogwumike's busy schedule is about to get even busier.

The athlete, who already pulls double duty as a WNBA All-Star and an host for ESPN Radio, is getting her own podcast.

Doing it all, she tells PEOPLE, is just part of her daily "chaos."

"It is beautiful chaos," she explains of adding a broadcasting career to her primary gig as a starter for the Los Angeles Sparks. "I think it's interesting, because a lot of people say like, 'How do you balance?' My answer is I don't really. I am in the middle of two full-time jobs that are stressful. But honestly, I'm living a dream."

Laughs the 29-year-old, "Oh my God, am I that person that literally said they're living a dream? Sorry, but they are jobs that are just my passions. As a basketball player, being able to play and then be able to talk about it. And then also executive produce a documentary [ESPN's recent WNBA documentary 144], it was not something that was in my purview at the age of like 28, 29."

Ogwumike — who was the first overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft after playing for Stanford University — became the first Black woman to host a national daily sports-talk radio show when Chiney & Golic Jr. launched last summer.

She admits she's had to discover, now, that she "can't say yes to everything at all times." Elaborates Ogwumike, "I think it's unique for me, because as a young woman that is Black and also in a sport where I get compared constantly to men, we feel like we have to overcompensate a lot of times with what we do to prove that we're worthy of our space. When in reality, we are worthy just by existing, right? And so I think I realized that I worked my butt off to prove myself as an NBA analyst and as a sports host and as someone that can have meaningful conversations and give real insight into things that matter."

That insight will be obvious in the athlete's new podcast, Chiney, which launches on Tuesday. In the weekly show, Ogwumike will cover current sports events through her unique perspective, in addition to hosting guests as they unpack different topics. Full video of all episodes will be available on the ESPN YouTube Channel. 

While Ogwumike wants to, of course, have fun with the podcast, it's important to her to host "elevated dialogues." She hopes to "help bridge the gap between fans and supporters and athletes and influencers," as well as represent a "world that is equitable with men and women."

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And even though she's just added another gig to her already loaded roster, Ogwumike is looking to the future, as she eyes growing her platform.

"I think our generation, this rising generation — millennials especially — have a lot to say and are capable of changing the narrative of so many things that matter right now in our country," she tells PEOPLE. "And so not just sports, but expanding beyond in society. I know the cliche is like, 'I want to be like Oprah.' But I want to be able to have discussions that matter and help change the narrative so that things are better for the next generation."