Nneka Ogwumike is looking to represent her roots in the upcoming Olympics after not being selected for Team USA’s roster.
When the women’s basketball rosters for Team USA were released, many were surprised to see that WNBA superstar Nneka Ogwumike was left off the team. She’s been one of the best players in the world, and she’s a key reason why the squad is heading to Tokyo in the first place.
The MVP’s absence from Team USA’s roster was met with harsh criticism from players and coaches. A former teammate of Ogwumike’s and WNBA MVP Candace Parker called the snub “bulls**t” along with Los Angeles Sparks head coach Derek Fisher.
Just because the star missed the cut for USA’s roster doesn’t mean she won’t be able to participate in the Olympics, however.
Nneka Ogwumike and sisters Chiney and Erica on the cusp of making Nigeria’s Olympic team
Nneka Ogwumike isn’t letting her Team USA Snub stop her from participating in the Olympics. Along with her two sisters Chiney and Erica, she is among the finalists for Nigeria’s Olympic team. The Nigerian Basketball Federation tweeted the news on Wednesday. If they can make the official roster, they would make Nigerian history as the first siblings to play on the Olympic team.
The trio’s parents were born in the country but immigrated to the United States when they started their family. Being able to play for their parents’ home team “would be such a blessing,” the 31-year-old star told ESPN.
Neither Nneka nor Chiney are cleared to play for Nigeria yet, but Nneka hopes to gain FIBA clearance this week, according to NBC Sports. Both of them have dual citizenship in the U.S. and Nigeria. Nneka Ogwumike explained she wanted to be part of a team that wanted her to contribute and not a “second option” if a player becomes hurt.
“I just wanted to bet on myself and also be a part of an organization that prioritizes me. I allowed myself to feel the hurt, but moving on; I decided, ‘I’m going to try to put matters in my own hands,’” she told ESPN.
There could be a three-headed monster playing for Nigeria in the Olympics this summer. All three of the Ogwumike sisters are supremely talented players, which could boost their team’s chances if they make the cut. The USA national team didn’t want Nneka Ogwumike, but Nigeria could have themselves a gem of a player on their hands.