Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike released her latest vlog with Grit Media (embedded above) where she talked about her life as a student-athlete at Stanford University where she played from 2010-2014.
Since Stanford is a top-ranked university, it is expected that their students will be called "nerds." But instead of running away from that label, Ogwumike said that she and other Stanford student-athletes "started celebrating that culture."
That culture helped spawn the 2012 "Nerd City Kids" music video Ogwumike performed with her older sister Nneka, who now plays for the Los Angeles Sparks:
Here's what Ogwumike said in regards to how this music video came about in more detail:
We’re shooting before Christmas break. There’s a game and obviously Tyga’s "Rack City" comes on. We’re just vibin' and shootin’. All of a sudden, I look around and I’m in my jersey and I’m like "Wow, I’m Stanford. This is great….It’s like Nerd City." ... So we’re shooting, getting ready for a game and I’m like "Oh what if there was a song like…Nerd City kid…Nerd Nerd City kid."
I rapped it to [Nneka] and she was like, "You go to change this lyric. C’mon now." So we change the lyric…
Our media guy walks in because he always brings in stats and stuff like that…He comes in and is like "Oh my gosh, we should get this on video. We should get this video singing this rap."
We did the video for our fans because the fans love to see us. Then it goes viral and its played in the NCAA tournament and its crazy and just something fun. But more so, the whole idea was just to show that at Stanford, you could be a student and an athlete and still be cool. You could redefine what nerd means to you. For me, it means I can be an athlete, but I can also really work hard in the classroom as hard as I work on the court as well.
Ultimately, the "Nerd City Kids" music video evolved into Nerd Nation, which is what Stanford student-athletes call themselves. Before she graduated, Ogwumike released a second music video called "N-E-R-D-S" which highlights Stanford as winners in the classroom and sports:
Ogwumike noted that Nerd Nation goes beyond Stanford, however:
[Nerd Nation]’s about anybody that wants to give themselves the best chance to succeed whether its at basketball, football, shoot if you’re in the orchestra, you take your education seriously because it can open doors for your passions. So that’s the Nerd Nation evolution. You could be from Notre Dame and be a Nerd Nation advocate. You could be from Brown or you could be from Wesleyan so Nerd Nation is everywhere. I just think its cool to see young kids that really think its neat to celebrate school and what education can do to advance yourself and also advance your passions.
I've really enjoyed watching Ogwumike's vlog series over the last several weeks as I count down the days down to the WNBA season. The series provides a deeper take on how life is as a WNBA player, and it now also provides more insight on how many college student-athletes' lives were like.
This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I'd love to see more vlogs like this from other players in the league soon.