April 18, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Sparks re-sign All-Star forward Nneka Ogwumike

Nneka Ogwumike, the WNBA most valuable player when she led the Sparks to the 2016 championship, has re-signed with the team.

No details of the contract were released by the Sparks, who announced the signing Tuesday.

“Los Angeles has been my professional home for the last decade and I’m excited to continue my journey as a member of the L.A. Sparks,” Ogwumike said in a statement released by the team. “I want to thank our ownership group, our entire front office staff, and our coaches for their commitment and dedication to growing our league. I’m determined and focused on competing at the highest level with my teammates.”

The Sparks drafted Ogwumike out of Stanford with the first selection in the 2012 draft. She has started all 267 regular-season games she has played with the club. The six-time All-Star has career averages of 16.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. She’s among the most efficient scorers in the league, shooting 55.2% from the field, including 36.4% from three-point range, during her career. She has converted 83.6% of her free throws.

Ogwumike, who was the rookie of the year, is a four-time All-WNBA team member and has been on the All-defensive team five times.

Sparks coach Derek Fisher, who is also general manager, said in the team’s release that Ogwumike “is an exemplary person, athlete, and teammate. We are grateful to return one of the league’s generational talents and leaders. Not only has Nneka won an MVP and championship on the court, but she is an MVP off the court for her pivotal work in the social justice movement and as WNBPA president.”

The Sparks now have 14 players on the roster since signing Ogwumike and her sister, Chiney, a two-time WNBA All-Star who opted out last season because of injury concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signing the Ogwumike sisters became a priority after losing starters Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray as well as top reserve Riquna Williams during free agency.

The Sparks have brought back veteran guard Kristi Toliver, who helped the team win the 2016 title before leaving in free agency for Washington, while signing center Amanda Zahui B. and guards Bria Holmes and Erica Wheeler. The team also re-signed guard-forward Seimone Augustus and guard Brittney Sykes.