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The W25: Nneka Ogwumike is undeniably on WNBA's top-25 players list

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The list was made for Nneka Ogwumike, and Nneka Ogwumike made the list. 

The only player to meet all seven of the requirements for the WNBA's "The W25" list of the top 25 players in the league's 25 seasons, Ogwumike was one of 10 current players on the list, the league announced during halftime of the Las Vegas Aces-Chicago Sky game on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Sparks forward was the only one on the 72-player initial list who has won the season-long Community Assist Award. The season-long award began in 2017 and only Ogwumike ('18) and Natalie Achonwa ('19) have won individually. The New York Liberty won in 2017 and the entire WNBA won in 2020.

She also won 2012 Rookie of the Year, 2016 MVP, the 2016 championship and has made five All-WNBA teams, five All-Defensive teams. She ranks top-40 in six of 10 categories. 

Under Ogwumike’s leadership as president of the WNBA Players Association came the life-changing 2020 collective bargaining agreement that brought increased salaries and maternity benefits. She also navigated a 2020 bubble season amid the COVID-19 pandemic that also included a unification around social justice causes.

Nneka Ogwumike's work as WNBPA president and her on-court accomplishments made her a lock for the W25 list. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Nneka Ogwumike's work as WNBPA president and her on-court accomplishments made her a lock for the W25 list. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The full W25 list 

  • Seimone Augustus

  • Sue Bird

  • Swin Cash

  • Tamika Catchings

  • Tina Charles

  • Cynthia Cooper

  • Elena Delle Donne

  • Sylvia Fowles

  • Yolanda Griffith

  • Brittney Griner

  • Becky Hammon

  • Lauren Jackson

  • Lisa Leslie

  • Angel McCoughtry

  • Maya Moore

  • Nneka Ogwumike

  • Candace Parker

  • Ticha Penicheiro

  • Cappie Pondexter

  • Katie Smith

  • Breanna Stewart

  • Sheryl Swoopes

  • Diana Taurasi

  • Tina Thompson

  • Lindsay Whalen

The criteria for the W25

The W25 is a selection of the 25 "greatest and most influential players since its inception in 1997." The league has done iterations of this in five-year increments starting with the All-Decade Team and continuing with the Top 15 and Top 20@20.

A group of media members, women’s basketball pioneers, coaches and advocates voted from a provided list of candidates. The qualifications are slightly different each time. Those considered for the W25 must have been a player in the WNBA for at least two seasons and meet at least four of the following seven criteria:

  • Won at least one of the major, individual postseason basketball awards: MVP, Finals MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Woman of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, Peak Performer (league leader in points/rebounds/assists per game in a season)

  • Selected to All-WNBA First or Second Team

  • Selected to All-Defensive First or Second Team

  • Selected to WNBA All-Star Game (starter, reserve, replacement player)

  • Won a WNBA championship

  • Ranked (as of July 31, 2021) among top-40 career leaders in at least one of 10 statistical categories: points, ppg, rebounds, rpg, assists, apg, steals, spg, blocks, bpg

  • Selected as winner of season-long WNBA Community Assist Award

The WNBA provided voters with a list of 72 official candidates. One player met all seven qualifications and 20 met six of seven. This criteria meant some previous honorees, such as Dawn Staley, were not qualified.

Vote for the GOAT 

Fans now have an opportunity to vote for the Greatest Player of All-Time in the league's 25-year history. Starting at 5 p.m. ET Sunday and running through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 19, fans can vote for their GOAT on Twitter, WNBA.com or the WNBA app. 

On Twitter, fans can make their pick by using the hashtag #WNBAGoatVote along with the name of a player on the W25 list or the player's Twitter handle. Retweets also will count as votes.

Fans can also go to WNBA.com/goatvote each day to submit one ballot. The ballot also will be accessible through the WNBA app and also will be available once per day.

The winner of the Vote for the GOAT will be announced during the 2021 WNBA Finals.