Sparks re-sign Nneka Ogwumike on a multi-year deal – Press Telegram

Sparks re-sign Nneka Ogwumike on a multi-year deal – Press Telegram

Nneka Ogwumike has re-signed with the L.A. Sparks, extending her stay as a leading member in the organization with which she’s spent all of her nine-season WNBA career so far.

The Sparks will bring back Ogwumike on a multiyear deal after losing marquee talents Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray earlier in free agency, to Chicago and Las Vegas, respectively.

L.A. used its “core” player designation on Ogwumike, which technically means she wasn’t to negotiate with other teams, though she did meet with some others in order to experience the free agency process — and did so with the blessing of Derek Fisher, L.A.’s coach and general manager.

In the end, she felt at home with the Sparks, Ogwumike said in a news release from the team announcing her signing.

“Los Angeles has been my professional home for the last decade and I’m excited to continue my journey as a member of the LA Sparks,” said Ogwumike, whose sister Chiney Ogwumike also re-signed with the team last week.

“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 proud to be a part of an organization with championship history and expectations and I’m motivated to continue building the Sparks legacy as we head into our 25th anniversary season.

“I’m determined and focused on competing at the highest level with my teammates.”

Ogwumike had had an impactful WNBA tenure since she was the top overall draft pick out of Stanford in 2012.

In 2016, when the Sparks won their most recent championship, she was the league MVP. She’s been an All-Star six times. And she’s proved one of the most efficient players ever, ranking second all-time in WNBA career true shooting percentage (61.6%) in addition to, in 2016, recording the highest single-season true shooting percentage (73.7%) in WNBA and NBA history.

Off the court, in her role as the WNBPA president, the 30-year-old Texas native was instrumental in negotiating the league’s groundbreaking 2020 collective bargaining agreement. She also helped with the strategic planning ahead of the 2020 WNBA season in the bubble at IMG Academy in Brandenton, Fla., where the Sparks went 15-7 and finished third before losing a second-round, single-elimination playoff game to Connecticut — a contest they played without Ogwumike, who was sidelined with a migraine.

“Nneka Ogwumike is an exemplary person, athlete, and teammate,” said Fisher of Ogwumike, back-to-back recipient of the WNBA Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. “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.”

In Ogwumike’s nine seasons with the team, the Sparks have never missed the playoffs. She’s started in 267 regular-season games and 35 playoff games and has career averages of 16.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Her shooting percentages: 55.2% from the field, 36.4% from 3-point range and 83.6% from the line.

Free agent acquisition Amanda Zahui B., a floor-stretching post player, said she’s eager to study Ogwumike’s game up close.

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And Chiney Ogwumike said Monday that she expects her older sister will be up to the challenge of leading the franchise, even down two stars.

“One thing I love about Nneka is nothing’s going to change when it comes to Nneka,” Chiney Ogwumike said. “No matter who she’s around, the environment she’s in, Nneka’s just Nneka. She’s a natural-born leader. And I am most qualified to say that because she’s led me ever since I’ve taken my first breath of life, and I continue to, you know, have fun riding her coattails and following my big sis through every step of the way.

“She leads on the court, she goes hard every possession on both ends. And she leads off the court, trying to do her best to elevate and uplift and continuing to push boundaries when it comes to our league, our players as a whole.

“And I am excited to help be a part of a team that will allow her to continue to shine.”

🌟 Rookie of the Year
🌟 MVP
🌟 WNBA Champion
🌟 6x All-Star
🌟 WNBPA President

All in the purple and gold.

Welcome Back, Nneka Ogwumike!

This content was originally published here.

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