Omi

NCAA Champion, two-time WNBA Champion, MVP and Olympic Gold Medalist. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I would say the greatest honor was to play in the Olympics and to win a gold medal for sure. But winning the NCAA Championship in college was probably the most memorable because it was the first time I won a championship and there is something unique about playing in college.

What was it like living in the Olympic Village while you were competing in Athens, Greece?

We actually didn’t get to stay in the Olympic Village. The men’s and women’s basketball teams stayed in a separate location but we went there a couple of times to visit. You are interacting with all of the athletes from different countries around the world and you get to see the other athletes you admire from the U.S. which is cool. I mean, you’re going to lunch with Andy Roddick!

Give us the juicy stuff. Are the stories about the athlete hook-ups true?

I mean, you have some of the most beautiful and talented athletes in the world staying in the same location and nobody else can get in there, so I’m sure a lot happens.

With your first season on the Chicago Sky in the books, what have you enjoyed most about this city?

It’s such a great city. I grew up in Indiana so it’s pretty close and sometimes we would come in. There is just so much to do. Whatever you are passionate about you are going to find. Whether it’s art, music or just hanging out at the beach. It could be anything. We play during the summer so I get the best of Chicago.

Where do you live in the offseason?

I live in Miami. I’ll play probably in Europe after Christmas and then I come back here.

What is the vibe like in the Chicago Sky locker room?

Our team has a fun personality. Everyone gets along, which isn’t always the case in sports. We have a lot of jokesters on the team so it’s usually pretty light-hearted. Epiphanny Prince and Tamera Young verses Swin Cash, those two kind of gang up on Swin.

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Who are you the closest to on the team?

I played four years in Detroit so Swin Cash is one of my really good friends. She was on the Olympic team with me as well and we both came to Chicago this year so that was great for me to have one of my closer friends in the WNBA. It has been really nice.

You’ve played professionally for 12 years. Do the younger players look to you for advice?

I think they look up to Swin and I and the older players. Whether I’m cooking dinner for some of the players on my team or doing things like that, it is my responsibility to take care of the team.

What goes through your mind when you’re on the court and all of the fans are cheering?

I don’t hear anything! My mom could be yelling at me and I wouldn’t hear it. I’m pretty focused on our game even when I’m not on the court and just on the bench. You may hear a little more but over the years you learn to tune it out.

Being 6 feet 5 inches tall, was it always a given that you were going to be a basketball player?

Yeah, my mom encouraged all of us siblings to play sports. I had to choose between volleyball and basketball when I was going to college but basketball was something I’ve done since fifth grade.

What is dating like for a successful female athlete?

It’s a challenge. For the pure height factor it’s a challenge! And then you throw on everything else. You’re traveling all of the time, half of the season I’m here and then I’m overseas.

Are you seeing anyone? Do you have any athlete crushes?

Not right now. And not really because as a professional athlete I’m just finishing my 12th year and everyone else is so young.

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Favorite vacation spot?

I like to see new places but Athens is one of my favorite places.

Is it frustrating to see the WNBA not treated as an equal to the NBA?

It’s the nature of the business. The NBA has been around for so long and we just finished our 16th year so I think other veteran players and I understand we are building this product for the future. Sure, we wish there was more equality but we are still in the forefront of paving the way.

Are there any reality shows you are embarrassed to admit you watch?

I don’t watch reality shows. I don’t even know what’s out now! I love watching sports. I’m a huge football fan.

Favorite teams?

Everything Notre Dame. The Colts.

Do you ever cheer for our Bears?

If they’re not playing the Colts! Super Bowl a few years back, the Colts won…

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

That’s a hard question. I think Abraham Lincoln would be kinda cool. And you’d have to meet at the White House.

What would you drink?

Whatever beer they have on tap!

Photography by Neal Agustin

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  • Sneakers

    A very unique post

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Omi