Two-time WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike re-signs with Sparks

3:30 PM ET

Alexa PhilippouESPN

CloseCovers women’s college basketball and the WNBA
Previously covered UConn and the WNBA Connecticut Sun for the Hartford Courant
Stanford graduate and Baltimore native with further experience at the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer

Two-time WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike has re-signed with the Los Angeles Sparks, the ESPN commentator announced while guest-hosting “NBA Today” on Wednesday.

Ogwumike, a former No. 1 overall draft pick out of Stanford in 2014, will reunite with Curt Miller, who coached her for two seasons with the Connecticut Sun.

“I’m not going to lie, the last two seasons for me have been the hardest seasons,” Ogwumike said on “NBA Today.”

“You all know the peaks and valleys of basketball. But nonetheless, I’m grateful for this new chapter, to be back with L.A., reunited with my former coach, Curt Miller.

“The WNBA has real momentum and I’m grateful to still be part of it.”

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Ogwumike, who has averaged 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds in 23.9 minutes throughout her career, opted out of the 2020 bubble campaign and was limited to seven games in 2021 because of injuries. She told ESPN last year that she spent the 2022 offseason getting to the root of her knee issues.

Last summer, the Sparks more broadly experienced turmoil with the midseason firing of coach Derek Fisher and sudden departure of four-time All-Star Liz Cambage ahead of their playoff push.

For the first time since 1997 and 1998, the three-time champion Sparks missed the playoffs for consecutive seasons.

Aside from hiring Miller this past spring, the Sparks have had an intriguing offseason, trading for guard Jasmine Thomas and forward Dearica Hamby. The former is coming off an ACL tear while the latter says she intends to play this summer after giving birth in the coming weeks. Los Angeles also made headlines by signing free agents Azura Stevens and Stephanie Talbot, but the latter recently tore her ACL playing in Australia and will not suit up for the Sparks as she rehabs the injury.

The Sparks also are expected to soon re-sign Chiney’s sister, 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike.

“I am excited to be reunited with Chiney here in Los Angeles,” Miller said in a statement. “Chiney is a highly productive and efficient player who also fits the culture that we want to establish in the locker room. She plays with a great motor and will provide valued energy to our team. Her offensive efficiency and defensive versatility will help us on both ends of the floor.”

Ogwumike also agreed to a new deal with ESPN in October in which she will start calling NBA games in addition to her roles on “NBA Today” and “NBA Countdown.”

“The hardest thing for me is people ask ‘oh, you still play?’ or ‘you haven’t retired?’ because a lot of people only see me through one capacity, from 12-1 on air,” Ogwumike told ESPN in April. “They’re not seeing the 5-9… People recognize I’m an athlete, and that’s why I have a voice, but I want people to recognize that I still want to compete and win.”

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