Award winning Nigerian-American basketball player, Nnemkadi “Nneka” Ogwumike was born on 2nd July, 1990. She plays for Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Her name “Nneka” means “Mother is Supreme” in Igbo. After being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2012 WNBA Draft, she signed an endorsement deal with Nike. She is the older sister of Chiney Ogwumike, who also plays in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Nneka also plays for Dynamo Kursk of Russia. She is 6’2″ and plays power forward. She attended Cypress-Fairbanks High School in Cypress, Texas and led them to a 5A State Championship in her senior season. While at Stanford University, she helped the Cardinal reach the Final Four four times. As of 2016, Ogwumike was elected President of the WNBA Players Association.
She was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the 2008 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored 17 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and earned MVP honors for the White team. She scored an average of 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks per game during the 2007-08 season at Cy-Fair High School
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As a successful young player with many potentials, she was presented with so many opportunities. She chose Stanford over Baylor, Duke, Connecticut, Tennessee and Notre Dame where she played with her sister, Chiney Ogwumike in Stanford.
She was a member of USA Under 18 Team that won gold in Argentina on July 23–27, 2008. Nneka tallied 20 points and 15 rebounds in the championship game of the Under-18 FIBA Americas. She led team USA to a 5-0 record while leading the team in scoring and rebounding. She was named MVP of this tournament in Argentina. Nneka had also
Nneka broke the Cardinal record for rebounds in a game with 23 to go along with 30 points in a 100-80 win at Oregon in January 23, 2010.
On December 20, 2011, Nneka scored a career-high 42 points on 19 for 27 shooting while also grabbing 17 rebounds in a 97-80 win over the sixth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols. Also, in January 2012, she surpassed both the 2,000 point and the 1,000 rebound thresholds for her career with a 33-point, 16 rebound performance against Oregon State.
Nneka left the Stanford Cardinal with the title of the second all-time leading scorer for the women’s basketball program behind only Candice Wiggins.
She was a member of the USA Women’s U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event was held in July 2008, when the USA team defeated host Argentina to win the championship. She aided the team win all five games, starting all five games and leading all scorers with 12.6 points per game. She was also the leading re-bounder with 8 per game. Nneka recorded 15 rebounds in the final game against Argentina, an U18 record.
She advanced to the USA Women’s U19 team which represented the USA in the 2009 U19 World’s Championship, held in Bangkok, Thailand in July and August 2009. Although the USA team lost the opening game to Spain, they went on to win their next seven games to earn a rematch against Spain in the finals, and won the game 81–71 to earn the gold medal. Nneka started all nine games and was the team’s leading scorer, with 13.6 points per game. She was the leading rebounder with almost ten per game, and was named to the all-tournament team.
Nneka played on the team presenting the USA at the 2011 World University Games held in Shenzhen, China, along with her sister, Chiney. The team was coached by Bill Fennelly and won all six games to earn the gold medal. Nneka averaged 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, both second place on the team behind Elena Delle Donne.
Nneka had also played for team USA at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, helping team USA beat Spain 77–64 in the gold medal game.
She was a member of the USA Women’s U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event was held in July 2008, when the USA team defeated host Argentina to win the championship as the leading re-bounder with 8 per game. She recorded 15 rebounds in the final game against Argentina, an U18 record.
On April 16, 2012, the Los Angeles Sparks picked Nneka as first overall in the 2012 WNBA Draft. She became the second player from Cypress-Fairbanks High School to be drafted No. 1 overall into the WNBA behind Lindsey Harding in 2007.
In 2017, Nneka signed a contract extension with the Sparks and in the 2017 season, she was voted into the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game, making it her fourth career all-star appearance. On August 18, 2017, Nneka scored a season-high 32 points along with 10 rebounds in a 115-106 double overtime victory over the Chicago Sky.