Nneka Ogwumike and the Los Angles Sparks had a good run together.
In their 12 years together, the forward-center won the WNBA's Rookie of the Year award in 2012, enjoyed her only All-WNBA First Team selection in 2016, hoisted a WNBA Finals and WNBA Finals MVP trophy in 2016. Ogwumike put on a show throughout her tenure as an All-Star selection for eight of those seasons, too.
All of that is coming to an end after Ogwumike informed the only WNBA team she's ever played for that she won't be returning in free agency. This is the 33 year old's best and likely final opportunity to move around as a truly unrestricted free agent.
LA, I hope it’s not goodbye, but ‘see you later’. pic.twitter.com/kalKHp4k3o
— Nneka Ogwumike (@nnekaogwumike) January 25, 2024
The Sparks broke the news to ESPN and provided a statement to the media outlet.
"I want to thank Nneka Ogwumike for 12 incredible seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks," Sparks managing partner and governor Eric Holoman said. "Nneka has been a leader and changemaker for the Sparks, the city of Los Angeles, the WNBA, and women's sports. From drafting her No. 1 in 2012, to her game-winning shot in the 2016 WNBA Finals, her 2016 MVP trophy, and so many special memories, her legacy is cemented as one of the greatest to ever wear Purple & Gold."
On Sunday, the negotiating window opened for the league. Ogwumike, who was drafted No. 1 overall in 2012, is reportedly going to meet with the WNBA Finals runner-up New York Liberty and Seattle Storm.
She has already taken meetings with the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury. Ogwumike also met with the Sparks and told them her decision as a courtesy and to give Los Angeles an opportunity to reconfigure its offseason plans.
The Sparks finished 17-23 in 2023 and didn't make the playoffs. They own the second pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft.