At the end of June, USA Basketball shared the final rosters for the men's and women's basketball teams that will represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics. On the men's side, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard and several other NBA All-Stars will lead Team USA. On the women's end, Team USA will feature Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Diana Taurasi, A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart. There were few objections made about the men's team, but several stars across the WNBA were frustrated that Los Angeles Sparks Forward Nenka Ogwumike was not selected to represent America in Tokyo.
"It really breaks my heart that Nneka is not on this team," Team USA Head Coach Dawn Staley said.
"What makes her unique and really special is she does have that inner strength and fortitude. I think she's going to continue to go about her business the way she always does and continue to be a professional. [But] to think about what Nneka means to the league, has accomplished and will continue to accomplish, and to think that she might go through her career and never play for Team USA in the Olympics is a freaking travesty," Los Angeles Sparks Head Coach Derek Fisher said.
Ogwumike is not letting one "no" stop her. The Nigerian-American WNBA star was included, along with her sisters, Chiney and Erica, on Nigeria's provisional women's basketball roster. If the trio receives clearance from FIBA, they will be able to represent Nigeria at the Olympics in Tokyo.
"It's something I know my family would be very proud of," Ogwumike said.
"For it to happen would be such a blessing. To be able to do something big for a big part of our heritage would be fantastic. I'm hoping it will contribute to the growth we're experiencing for Africa in basketball."
In addition to adding the Ogwumike sisters to the Nigeria women's basketball roster, Victoria Macaulay of the Chicago Sky and Elizabeth Williams of the Atlanta Dream were also included in the preliminary roster. If Nigeria is able to pull together five former and current WNBA stars, they could earn a medal for the nation later this month.
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