Special Super Bowl For Amukamara
By Amber Harding
When the New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers in this year's NFC Championship game, football fans everywhere couldn't look away. In fact, many have called the overtime playoff game the most exciting one in recent memory.
But for Arizona State basketball player Promise Amukamara, it was a stressful time to be a Giants fan.
"I was super nervous," she said. "I couldn't watch some of the possessions because, at one point, I thought they were going to lose."
Promise's brother, Prince Amukamara, is a rookie cornerback for the Giants. Promise said she has a close relationship with Prince, and he even calls her before every game to wish her and her teammates luck.
As a freshman, Promise relies on her brother's advice to help her deal with the tough transition from high school to college athletics.
"He just told me to keep going," Promise said, "and if this is what you really want to do in the future, just work hard. God is there for you, and he won't give you more than you can handle."
Promise and her brother Prince.
She said she left her comfort level when she came to college, and Prince reminds her that regaining confidence will lead her to success.
"I just share with her that there will always be adversity through college, and don't just expect everything to be smooth sailing," Prince said.
It hasn't been smooth sailing for Prince, either. He broke his left foot in training camp in August, and the injury left him sidelined for much of the season.
Promise said she's proud of him for working through it.
"He's been keeping his faith," she said. "And his faith has really paved the way for him."
Prince may be a pro cornerback, but Promise has become a threat on defense as well. She said her biggest struggle in D-I basketball has been evolving herself from an offensive star into a defensive role player. This season, she's been contributing to the Sun Devil cause by grabbing steals and turning them into transition buckets. She leads the underclassmen with 19 steals so far this season.
But that doesn't mean she's abandoning her offensive skills. Promise arrives early to practice and stays late to get in as many shots as possible.
"I'm also working on handling the ball," she said. "[Head coach Joseph Anders] said he could see me as a point guard, so I'm going to work on those skills over the summer."
Promise not only has the support of her coaches and teammates, but her parents and four sisters are also close by. They only have to drive about 20 minutes from their home in Glendale, Ariz., to attend her games.
"It helps to know they're there and they're supporting us 100 percent," Promise said. "Our family is our biggest fan base."
And the Amukamara family knows something about sports. Promise's sisters run track and play basketball. Her dad Romanus was a talented soccer player in his native country of Nigeria, and her mom Christie competed as a sprinter for Nigeria in the 1984 Olympics.
Promise said athleticism simply runs in the family.
"It's just what we seem to do," she said. "Every time we went outside, we were always playing sports."
Since Christie and Romanus are former athletes, Prince said they have always demonstrated hard work and focus to him and his sisters. And even when family members are on opposite ends of the country, they can always lean on each other for support.
"Whenever we talk, we always share our experiences and what we are going through," Prince said.
So when Prince plays under the bright lights of Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, six of his biggest fans will be right there cheering him on.
Because the ASU women's hoops team has a game against California Saturday, Promise said she will unlikely be able to make it to Indianapolis to watch her brother play.
"He told me, 'Cheer at the TV!'" she said.
Promise said she'll be rooting for Prince to come up with an interception or a tackle, but she will be proud of him no matter what.
"I want my brother to bring home the [championship]," she said. "Arizona and the whole Glendale compound are happy for him."