All Articles Tagged "athlete"
Uneku Atawodi is a businesswoman. A philanthropist. A government worker. A world traveler. And an international professional polo player. She’s 25 years old. How has this young woman accomplished so much with such little time on earth? She started with not taking no for an answer.
Actually, Uneku was born with a health problem — bronchial pneumonia — that can still cause some breathing issues. But that hasn’t stopped her. Twelve years ago, Uneku fell in love with horses. She was introduced to the sport of polo when business opportunities led her father to move the family from Pakistan back to the Arab-influenced Nigerian city of Kaduna, where polo was a weekly ritual. It’s an activity more common for families than sitting at home. “The first time I watched it, and saw the aggression and speed and love for the game the players had, I fell in love,” says Uneku.
Unswayed by discouragement from her family, Uneku made up her mind to become the best player she could be. And she did. But not without finding time to get a bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Science and a master’s degree in International Business with Spanish. She even found ways to pursue business ventures and use her platform to effect change through government and nonprofit work. Now Uneku has come to the States; Atlanta to be specific.
We caught up with the business-minded equestrian to find out what brought her to America and what drives her success.
Madame Noire: What resistance did you receive to your involvement in polo?
Uneku: Oh a lot! It was so awkward, because the adults were pretty straightforward about it! “Neku, you cannot play because you are a girl, go cook!” “Neku, a woman’s place is not on the horse, you won’t get married.” I think my fascination with polo grew from the resistance though. I was a curious child, and constantly hearing [I was a miracle baby led me to] believe that I was invincible! I used to say, “Mummy, He cannot try to take me twice! Calm down!”
Madame Noire: How has being Black and female influenced your experience as a polo player? Do you think it has impacted your career at all?
Uneku: Well I studied Equestrian Science, so if anything now it has positively impacted my life path. It allows me to give other children the opportunity to have the sport open doors for them, like it did for me! I have played in so many amazing countries around the world and have met so many amazing people, most of whom have helped me in my career decisions, and have led me to some very successful business choices.
Madame Noire: What do you think is keeping more Black women from entering the sport? How can we change that?
Uneku: There is an influx of all cultures entering the sport, and that comes from the sport being popularized in modern times, and getting to more people. I guess in America, it is the wealth bracket. It is seen as an expensive and elitist sport. But I find the polo community to be one of the most welcoming sporting communities, and if you approach a club with your interest, you might end up with a beautiful new life experience.
If you follow sports or just like to follow up on cute athletes, you know by now that Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose was injured last week and is out for the remainder of the playoffs. Well earlier this week he was spotted in a sky box watching his teammates and spotted in the row in front of him was his rumored girlfriend (and unconfirmed expectant mother of his child), Mieka. As I scoured the comments of various sites that posted the pictures (she’s in the row in front of him on his right side), there was one consistent question: “Why does she look so rough?” The questions that followed wondered why she wasn’t dressed to the “9s” and why she couldn’t “really” get her hair done. Hmm. I looked at the pictures again and noticed that she likely wasn’t wearing any makeup and yes, she had on rain boots but other than that, she looked like she was genuinely there to show support for the game.
The follow-up comment to that question was almost always, “If you’re going to be an athlete’s girl, you need to step your game up.” So although Mieka’s look might be fine for a woman dating an “average Joe” and may have been okay when they first met, it is unacceptable for her to have such a casual appearance (in public) when she is dating a man who is not only rich but is also a superstar. Essentially, being yourself – and we don’t know this is how she looks everyday as this is only one set of pictures – is not as clear cut when your status has been elevated because of your relationship.
Check out the full set of pictures on Mediatakeout.
What’s your take? If you find yourself dating a celebrity, are you obligated to step up your appearance? If you do, are you wrong for changing? If you don’t, are you asking for him to move on to a woman who will “step it up?”
An athletic build is a thing of beauty. What some athletes put on that athletic build… well, let’s just say a lot of those outfit selections are side-eye worthy (cough-cough, Michael Jordan). Although it definitely took them some time, there are seven male athletes that we’ve noticed are polished now. Thanks to a good stylist (or a good woman), a few tailors, and a few prayers they started doing it how it should be done. In short, they went from hot mess to just HOT!
For a peek at the seven miraculous male athlete style transformations, visit StyleBlazer.com.
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The game has changed; and according to about 99% of the people who are sick of basketball wives’ antics, the change is not for the better.
Tanya Young, ex-wife of New Jersey Nets player Jayson Williams, recently talked to the Daily Beast about the difference between dating an athlete now and when she first met her ex in the 90s.
“When I met and married Jayson 20 years ago, the wives and girlfriends received no attention at all. No one cared who they were married to or who they were dating.
“No one noticed you, but today all you have to do is go on two dates with an NBA player and you’re a star, too. It’s a strange new world, and these young girls get very caught up in the fame more than anything.”
I just had a vision of a young Jackie Christie if things were the way they are today when she met Doug. Can you imagine that?
Tanya says even women who marry players for love have no idea how difficult it is being with someone who’s admired by so many as she talked about sleeping with a knife under her pillow before her husband was eventually sent to jail for killing a limo driver in 2002.
For a lot of women, it seems the shoes and handbags outweigh the negatives of having a professional athlete for a husband, Tanya says.
“young girls today that marry these guys won’t listen to anyone. I’ve tried to pass on what I know, but these young girls pay you no mind.”
Well the men better start paying Kobe some mind and make sure they don’t get caught up without a pre-nup.
Do you think athlete’s wives should go back to being seen and not heard?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
Lance Gross’ stars in the upcoming movie ‘The Last Fall’, about a star athlete who is forced into retirement at 25. After returning home broke and unemployed, Kyle Bishop (Lance Gross) starts to pick up the pieces in his life and get back to normal. Until a series of events occurs that force him to make the same tough decisions in his life off field.
Watch the trailer here…
Will you be checking out this movie?