Ogwumike walks away from the Sparks after 12 years
January 25, 2024
After 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, superstar power forward, Nneka Ogwumike has decided to leave the team and head to free agency. In the 2012 WNBA draft the Los Angeles Sparks selected Ogwumike with the 1st overall pick in the 1st round. This was a decision that paid dividends for the Sparks right away.
In the 2012 season, Ogwumike helped the Sparks improve from 15 wins to 24 wins when she arrived. As she also received rookie of the year honors as she averaged 14 points per game and 7.5 rebounds on the season.
The 2016 season was the most iconic season that Nneka Ogwumike had with the Sparks. She was on the WNBA first team and was the 2016 WNBA MVP. The Sparks went 26-8 and they also won the WNBA Championship.
In her tenure, Ogwumike made eight all-star selections and six all-WNBA team selections. "I have much love for this city that unconditionally embraced this Stanford kid 12 years ago," Ogwumike posted on social media. "So much pride in being only a small piece of the legacy that is Championship City."
In her final season with LA, Ogwumike averaged 19.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the Sparks who finished the season with a 17-23 record. The Sparks dealt with injuries and illnesses throughout last season which led to the team to missing the playoffs by one game.
Ogwumike has been through six coaches in her 12 seasons in Los Angeles. After making the playoffs her first nine years, including two trips to the WNBA Finals, Ogwumike and the Sparks have missed the playoffs three years in a row. Ogwumike, who turns 34 this summer, is ready for a new experience elsewhere and hoping to add more to her already Hall of Fame career. With this huge loss, the purple & gold may be looking to a rebuild as the team holds the 2nd and 12th picks in this year's WNBA Draft.
Will the Sparks be aggressive in free agency to replace Nneka? Or will the team just wait for the draft to make their biggest splash? No matter what they do. The loss of Nneka will give the Sparks a fresh new start and a fresh new look going forward.