Saying that the WNBA has a handful of star athletes would definitely be a candidate for understatement of the year. With players like Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stuart, Elena Delle Donne, Candace Parker, and A’ja Wilson, there is no limit of talent in the league today. However there is one player who can easily be overlooked, yet whose career is packed with multiple accolades and a terrific journey to success. Her name is Astou Ndour.
Astou Ndour was born on August 22nd, 1994 in Dakar, Senegal. With her grandfather being a former soccer player and both of her parents as former professional basketball players, it seemed that Ndour was likely to follow a similar path. That path would eventually provide Ndour with an opportunity like no other. At the age of 14, she was recruited to play basketball in either France or Spain. Given that she knew French already (since it is the official language of Senegal), Ndour decided on Spain, with the belief that she could ingratiate herself with a new culture and life experience. More specifically, Ndour would be traveling to the Canary Islands. She would later reflect on how breathtaking the moment was for her at that age. After all, she was only 14 years old and leaving her family behind to accomplish her dreams.
The year 2011 was a turning point for Ndour’s career. Not only was she granted her Spanish citizenship, however she was also invited to the nation’s junior women’s basketball team. It was here where her unique talents were noticed by James Wade, an assistant coach for the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA. He reminisced about how impressed he was with Ndour’s athletic prowess as well as her ability to compete against players who were much older. Her dreams would finally come true at the 2014 WNBA Draft, where San Antonio would select her with the 16th overall pick. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Ndour would participate with the Spanish women’s national basketball team. This would be the breakout moment of her career; where she would showcase her talents and find success. Spain would capture the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics. For Ndour, this was only the start of the greatness to come.
In 2018, Ndour competed in the FIBA Basketball Women’s World Cup, where she was named a tournament all-star, along with Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart, and Elizabeth Cambage. The following year, now as a member of the Chicago Sky, she would help Spain capture the European Women’s Basketball Championship. She added another feather to her cap by earning the tournament MVP.
With the story of Astou Ndour, one can learn that although having a certain talent may help you achieve your goals, it is also just as crucial to steer out of your comfort zone. For Ndour, this meant leaving everything behind, including her family and home country. However, she maximized her full potential and is now on the path to become one of the future faces for the WNBA.