The Team USA women’s basketball roster for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics was announced earlier this week. A talented collection of 12 players was selected for the group that will be heavily favored at this year’s Games.
But one former WNBA MVP was left off of the roster: Nneka Ogwumike.
Derek Fisher, who coaches Ogwumike on the Los Angeles Sparks, couldn’t believe that the 30-year-old, six-time All Star and 2016 MVP had been snubbed from Team USA. In a recent media session, he blasted the decision to leave her off the roster, calling the omission “a freaking travesty.”
“We’re pissed, honestly,” Fisher said, per TMZ Sports. “I think the thing about Nneka is nothing has to be given to her. She earned it. She deserves it. That’s the most frustrating and disappointing part.
“[She] could have probably gone overseas maybe to make more money than sacrifice for Team USA. Sacrificing her body in terms of performing well, leading the team in scoring during the tour, won MVP award during their group on the tour,” Fisher continued. “Like, I don’t know what else a player is supposed to do. She’s been an All-Star 6 times in the last 10 years. She’s been the MVP of the league in recent years, 2016, a champion in the league. One of the faces of the league.
“We respect other players, happy for the ones that made it but ain’t no way you can tell me you can put a team together and leave Nneke off of it and try to say that it makes sense and that it adds up because it doesn’t.”
Sparks coach Derek Fisher said Nneka Ogwumike's omission from the Olympic roster "is a freaking travesty." pic.twitter.com/20sx3oUNOn
— espnW (@espnW) June 23, 2021
U.S. women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley said that Ogwumike was left off the roster due to a left knee sprain that she’s been dealing with with recently. Fisher wasn’t a fan of that explanation either.
“I’m calling BS on that too,” Fisher said in regards to Ogwumike being left out due to injury, according to Sports Illustrated. “The timeline doesn’t add up for her being unavailable to play in the Olympics. I don’t care what math you use, old math, new math.
Fisher wasn’t the only one to object to leaving Ogwumike off of Team USA this summer. Nneka’s sister, Chiney, also wrote a lengthy note that she posted on social media, expressing her own frustration about the omission.
— espnW (@espnW) June 21, 2021
Ogwumike won’t be suiting up in the red, white and blue this summer, but Team USA put together a strong roster, with a balance of international veterans and up-and-coming stars. Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird will highlight a squad that also contains Ariel Atkins, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Jewell Lloyd, Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson.
The USA Women's Basketball roster was announced today 🔥
Sue Bird and DT will be playing in their fifth Games.
2020 WNBA MVP A'ja Wilson is among the six first-time Olympians on the squad. pic.twitter.com/qnpHCntW6C
— ESPN (@espn) June 21, 2021
Team USA will be in action in Tokyo starting on July 27.