(East Los Angeles, CA) [ From The Editor’s Desk]: Sparks fans can now rest assured that their A#1 player, Captain, #30/Nneka Ogwumike, will remain with the team for the coming season. Her deal was secured and the contract just signed giving one of the “Top 10” and current WNBA players the ability to continue on with her 12th year as a Los Angeles Sparks team member.
Below you will find the Club’s press announcement with more details along with comments from Ogwumike. Just a couple of days ago, her younger sister, Chiney, signed her contract to return to the team for the 2023 WNBA season.
The 7 x All-Star Returns For Her 12th Season in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (January 24, 2023) – The Los Angeles Sparks announced today the re-signing of WNBA Champion and 2016 WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike. Per team policy, the terms of the agreement were not released.
“I started in Los Angeles as a wide-eyed rookie hopeful to last and to lead in a city and with a franchise defined by its legends and legacy,” said Ogwumike. “Over the last 11 years, with champions and with challenges, my veteran vision remains clear and committed to what it truly means to play in this league, in THIS city, for 12 seasons, repping that iconic purple & gold.”
Ogwumike is coming off a 2022 season that was one of the most efficient seasons of her career, highlighted by an appearance at the WNBA All-Star game and earning Second Team All-WNBA honors. Ogwumike started and appeared in 34 games, averaging 18.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 34.1 minutes per game. She was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played June 20-26, her 13th career Player of the Week recognition.
Ogwumike reached significant milestones in the 2022 season, including eclipsing 5,000 career points, joining Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker as the only Sparks players to surpass the 5,000-point mark. She ended the regular season 20th all-time in career points at 5,194 and now sits in the top-20 in points and rebounds (18th – 2,363 rebounds) on the WNBA all-time leaderboard. Ogwumike also eclipsed 450 career steals in 2022, ending the season tied for 21st all time with 488 total steals.
“Re-signing Nneka was the top priority of 2023 free agency for the Los Angeles Sparks,” said Sparks CAO & GM Karen Bryant. “Nneka is deeply ingrained in the rich history of the Sparks and is both an elite basketball player and a trailblazer for our league and beyond. We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with her as she continues adding to her storied legacy.”
The 6-2 forward was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2012 WNBA Draft out of Stanford University. Ogwumike’s accolades over her 11-year career include with the Sparks include: Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team (2012), MVP (2016), First Team All-WNBA (2016), Second Team All-WNBA (2014, 2017, 2019, 2022), seven All-Star appearances (2013-2015, 2017-2019, 2022), four WNBA All-Defensive First Teams honors (2015-2017, 2019), and a WNBA All-Defensive Second Team honor (2018).
“Nneka is an extraordinary person and teammate,” said Sparks Head Coach Curt Miller. “Not only is she a top-level leader for the Sparks, but she is a leader for the entire league. Her work ethic and dedication to her craft is exceptional. She’s coming off another All-WNBA season and continues to add levels to her game. I couldn’t be more excited to coach Nneka.”
Nneka Ogwumike is President of the WNBPA, now serving in her third term in the position. In 2021 she was named to the ‘The W25’—the 25 greatest players to ever play in the league’s history.