Arike Ogunbowale Can Dress, Dance, and Hoop


Arike Ogunbowale’s basketball career has been on a steady upward trajectory since college, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. As a junior at Notre Dame, she buried not one, but two game-winning shots in the Final Four—the second one immediately canonizing her as one of coldest killers college basketball has ever seen.

Her WNBA career began with a bang, too. Ogunbowale was drafted by the Dallas Wings and averaged 19.1 points per game as a rookie in 2019, then led the league in scoring during the 2020 pandemic season. She made her first All-Star appearance in 2021 (and picked up All-Star MVP honors), and earned her second straight appearance last year.

Entering her fifth season in the league—fresh off a couple State Farm ads that upped her global recognition—Ogunbowale wants to keep this momentum going. Undoubtedly one of the league’s best scorers, and one of its most stylish dressers, there seems to be no limit to what she can accomplish. Before her season gets going and she starts torching every defender in her path, Ogunbowale spoke with GQ about her plans for 2023 and a basketball deity who she kicked it with during the offseason. 

Is it weird to be 26 years old, heading into your fifth season in the league, and be one of the oldest players on the team? 

Yeah it’s kind of crazy. I’ve always been one of the youngest. But it’s cool because, through all my years in Dallas, I’m one of the ones that’s still left here. I can help some of the newer players. It’s definitely cool to be in this position. But yeah, only Natasha [Howard], Diamond [DeShields], and [Teaira] McCowan are older than me. 

Are you the type of person who sets tangible goals for yourself each season?

For sure, I sit down with myself and the trainers to talk about individual goals, team goals, and what I can do to get there. It’s a little bit of both stats and feel-based goals. Obviously, I want to win a championship with this team. Individually, I just want to be better than last year, so I’ll look at those numbers. And since I’m one of the oldest on the team now, helping the younger players and being a leader is always a goal. 

Do you check your stats during the season? I’m always fascinated by athletes who can just rattle off all of their stats.

The ones who say they never look are lying! There’s the scoreboard, and you get a box score at the end of each game, so you see it even if you don’t want to see it. I don’t go out of my way to know, but I know because it’s everywhere! Players know exactly how many [points] they finished with because it’s all over the arena. 

Shooting percentage, though, that’s a thing. Maybe sometimes after the game you’ll be like, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize I shot this-for-this.’ There’s moments where you don’t realize something happened, but at the end of the day, you know what you had. There’s no way you didn’t

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