Candace Parker knows firsthand about being snubbed by the Team USA Basketball Olympic committee. And yes, "of course," Parker has reached out to former teammate and now fellow Olympic snub, Nneka Ogwumike.
"I know there's a lot of deserving women, but how many times are we going to say something is unfair, right?" Parker told reporters Tuesday night following the Chicago Sky's 92-72 win over the New York Liberty. "How many times are we going to say it's not politics? Like, I think we all know that."
Ogwumike, a six-time WNBA All-Star with the Los Angeles Sparks and 2016 league MVP, is not one of the 12 players heading to the Tokyo Olympics this summer for Team USA after the roster was announced on Monday.
It is one of the biggest snubs in the history of the women's Olympic squad, which goes for a seventh consecutive gold medal next month, and has drawn criticism around the league.
Candace Parker on Nneka Ogwumike's Olympic snub
Parker played with Ogwumike for nine seasons in Los Angeles and said she spoke with her after the roster was announced. The 35-year-old gave an honest, frank answer on the situation and referenced her own standing with USA Basketball.
"I hit Nneka. I was like, 'Listen it sucks, it's unfair,' all that blah, blah, blah," Parker said "'You're one of the greatest. You're the only MVP not to make an Olympic team, which is bulls***.' But that's what it is, right? That's why I'm commentating in Tokyo."
Ogwumike has been a member of the senior national team since 2014, her sophomore year in the WNBA. She has been a key part of two World Cup-winning squads, but has never participated in the Olympics over three cycles now.
She attended every Team USA minicamp and was one of the eight core players who trained together while playing a college barnstorming tour in 2019. The only other core player who wasn't named to the team was Elena Delle Donne, who still hasn't played following two back surgeries.
Sparks coach Derek Fisher went in on the snub on Tuesday, saying they're "pissed" and that it doesn't make sense. Ogwumike is the only WNBA MVP to not play in an Olympics.
What happened with Candace Parker and Team USA?
Parker, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was left off the 2016 Rio Olympics roster despite being healthy and winning two WNBA MVP awards previously. She said two years later she wouldn't play for Team USA again and has not entered her name into the national portal for selection.
As with Ogwumike's case this cycle, Parker was statistically the best overall performer for the team during a four-game European tour. In the time since then she's only further proven her greatness on the court.
For two years, she stayed largely silent, but in recent years has spoken up about it.
"If somebody doesn't believe that they deserve you or want you, you can't keep going back," Parker said on the "Tea with A & Phee" podcast last summer. "And so that was my reasoning for not going back to USA Basketball with [coach] Dawn Staley, even though I love her."
Parker was left off the team in the final go of UConn head coach Geno Auriemma's cycle as national team head coach. Staley, the title-winning coach at South Carolina, is currently head coach.
NBC Olympics announced earlier this month Parker will work as a basketball analyst at the Games this summer.
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