Los Angeles Sparks head coach Derek Fisher voiced his frustration with USA Basketball's decision to omit Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike from the final roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Fisher told reporters Tuesday he and the organization were "pissed" about the news.
"The thing about Nneka is nothing has to be given to her," he said. "She earned it. She deserves it. That's the most frustrating and disappointing part. That's the part that makes you angry the most."
Sparks star Chiney Ogwumike echoed the sentiment, listing her older sister's accolades and noting the 2016 WNBA MVP was under the impression she was doing everything required to get selected:
Chiney Ogwumike @chiney
✔️WNBA MVP & Champion in 2016 (last Olympic year)<br>✔️6x All-Star <br>✔️4x All-WNBA<br>✔️4x WNBA All-Defensive Team <br>✔️2x FIBA World Cup Gold Medalist<br>✔️ No. 1 pick & ROY<br>✔️Euroleague Champion<br>✔️WNBPA President<br>✔️oh, and she is one of few who went to every Team USA camp the last 5 years pic.twitter.com/iEzDduj4Kj
The older Ogwumike has been limited to five games during the 2021 season and was diagnosed with a left knee sprain earlier in the month. However, Fisher said he was "calling BS" on that as a justification for leaving the 30-year-old out.
That line of reasoning also doesn't make sense because Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi made the cut. She hasn't played since May 21 because of a fractured sternum.
Over the past three seasons, the 39-year-old guard is also averaging 15.3 points on 37.2 percent shooting while putting up 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. That production is solid but not exceptional relative to others in the U.S. Olympic pool.
During the same span, Ogwumike is shooting 53.2 percent while averaging 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Devereaux Peters, who spent six seasons in the WNBA, provided a series of tweets explaining why this situation is a microcosm of what many believe to be larger issues within USA Basketball:
Ogwumike is 15th all-time in win shares (51.8) and a six-time All-Star, and she had one of the best seasons ever in 2016 en route to winning MVP. By the time she retires, the power forward will be thought of as one of the greatest players of her era.
The fact that she hasn't been positioned to earn a gold medal in the Olympics is a head-scratcher, and the sting of her snub this year is magnified because she may not get another crack at the Olympic team given her age.