Nneka Ogwumike re-signs with Los Angeles Sparks

Feb 27, 2023, 10:55 AM | Updated: Feb 28, 2023, 6:44 am
FILE - Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, right, tries to shoot as Connecticut Sun forward ...

FILE - Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, right, tries to shoot as Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas defends during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Aug. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. Ogwumike wants to not only restore Los Angeles into a championship contending franchise, but also to get the community excited about basketball and women's sports. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Nneka Ogwumike not only wants to make the Los Angeles Sparks a championship contender again, but also to get the community excited about women’s basketball and other sports.

The former WNBA MVP re-signed with the Sparks last week, continuing her career with the franchise that drafted her No. 1 in 2012.

“The Sparks are a basketball team, a team that wins and wins with greatness and competitiveness,” Ogwumike said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “A team that gets people excited about basketball and sports. A team that is culturally relevant. A team that changes things for women in sport.”

Ogwumike will once again team up with her sister Chiney, who also re-signed with the Sparks last week.

“Understanding where Chiney is in her career, where I am in my career, there’s certainly more years behind us than in front of us,” said Ogwumike, who won the MVP in 2016. “For us to be in a situation where we’re on a team, the pieces are kind of coming together, I would say that was certainly signifying that something was really getting assembled here.”

Ogwumike, who is President of the WNBA Players Union, loved seeing the headlines about free agents signing in New York and Las Vegas this offseason. She took a different strategy with the Sparks.

“A lot of players leaving different places to go to one place. But my approach is, who wants to play here, as opposed to, where do I want to go?” Ogwumike said. “So a lot of my communications and a lot of how I conduct myself in free agency, whether it’s for me or to get other players, it’s not about, ‘Hey, let’s go build this team, let’s come here.’ It’s just like, ‘Hey, this is what we’re about. If you’re for it, come through.’ And if not, everything’s not for everybody.”

Ogwumike took less than the maximum salary to help the Sparks fit under the cap. She said general manager Karen Bryant and new coach Curt Miller fought with her on the numbers. She told them, “wherever you need my number to be to get who we need to get, let’s just do that.”

Bryant admired Ogwumike from afar when she was with the Seattle Storm.

“She has the combination of the focus and work ethic and discipline and the fortitude,” Bryant said. “In her case, it’s matched with a really unique sense of grace, warmth and empathy. That is what puts her in really rare air. She cares about the why as much as she cares about the who as much as she cares about the how.

“She’s an elite player, she’s the conssumate pro, she’s an inspirational leader and she’s a global ambassador.”

The Sparks, an original WNBA franchise, have won three championships, most recently in 2016. But Los Angeles has struggled the last two seasons, going 12-20 and 13-23. The Sparks missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1997-98.

Ogwumike has averaged 16.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during her career with the Sparks.


AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]
1 month ago
Joe Jarzynka...
Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]
1 month ago
FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]
1 month ago
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...
Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]
1 month ago
FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...
Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]
1 month ago
FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...
Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]
1 month ago
Nneka Ogwumike re-signs with Los Angeles Sparks