Dribbling to Tokyo: Promise Amukamara Ready to Compete for Nigeria
by Jenna Hillman, a senior in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism who will graduate in the fall of 2021. Originally from Mesa, Arizona, she has worked in ASU's Cronkite PR Lab in her Sun Devil undergraduate career.
Top athletes across the globe are preparing to compete in the 2021 Olympics and among the group of top performers is Arizona State University graduate Promise Amukamara.
Amukamara played for the Sun Devil women's basketball team from 2011-2015. After graduating, she was drafted into the WNBA by the Phoenix Mercury. Since then she has played basketball for both the WNBA and Charnay Bourgogne, a professional basketball team in France.
"I think a difficult part of my career and stuff is just going overseas and leaving my family and playing long seasons," Amukamara said. "I think that's the difficult part of this whole ride. But nevertheless, I'm so grateful and honored to be in the position I am."
Amukamara has been selected to play for team Nigeria at the 2021 Summer Olympics. As if this wasn't a big enough accomplishment, Amukamara is the first woman basketball player from ASU to ever play in the olympics. The point guard was selected to play for Nigeria back in 2020. She will be joined by other professional basketball players along with some WNBA players.
49 years of #TitleIX! Thankful for the opportunities it has given me, especially the ability to be surrounded by amazing women everyday. (Like Promise Amukamara... thanks for stopping by today before taking off for your Olympics journey!!) pic.twitter.com/KdQDDgZ1RA
— Charli Turner Thorne (@ASUCoachCharli) June 24, 2021
"It's an honor to represent ASU and the women's basketball team," said Amukamara, "I'm just humbled and honored."
— Cronkite School (@Cronkite_ASU) June 28, 2021
Amukamara went on to explain that what she learned during her time at ASU playing under Charli Thorne has shaped both the player and person that she is today.
So how does one prepare to compete on the largest stage in the world?
Amukamara explained she has been going to training camps with the Nigerian national team in Las Vegas and overseas to play against national teams in Spain and Belgium. She has also been practicing multiple times a day and hitting every rep in the weight room.
Amukamara explained that preparing for the Olympics has given her a "killer dog instinct," and that she's, "excited to showcase this part of the world," referring to Nigeria.
The goals that Amukamara wants to achieve at the Olympics is to get a medal, prove nigerian basketball to be a real competitor, and have bragging rights against her brother Prince Amukamara who won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in 2012.
"We're on the rise. And I think that's good for the future of Nigerian basketball," said Amukamara.
"It's an honor to represent the ASU women's basketball team" ??
Also bragging rights w/ her brother Prince are up for grabs??
— Jordan Spurgeon (@spurge_) June 23, 2021