Nneka Ogwumike chosen for third consecutive sportsmanship award

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike adjusts her gear as she prepares to warm up before a game.
Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike gets ready to warm up before a game last season.
(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike won the WNBA’s Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award for the third consecutive time, the league announced Sunday, making her the first player to win the award in three consecutive seasons.

Ogwumike received 19 of 49 votes for the award that honors a player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court, including ethical behavior, fair play and integrity. The Atlanta Dream’s Elizabeth Williams finished second with eight votes.

As the WNBPA president, Ogwumike has been a leading force in the league’s social justice campaigns, which focused on health equity for Black women this season after players championed racial justice and the #SayHerName campaign last year.


On the court in 2021, Ogwumike labored through what might have been one of the toughest years of her professional career. She averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Sparks but missed almost half of the season because of a knee injury. She was left off Team USA’s Olympic roster and her backup Olympic plan fell through when her appeal to play for Team Nigeria was denied.

Yet she remained an important pillar of the rebuilding Sparks. The young team relied on the 10-year veteran for leadership during a difficult season that ended with the team missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and Ogwumike’s place in the WNBA was cemented when she was named to the W25, a list of the 25-year-old league’s 25 most influential players.

GM and coach Derek discusses the Sparks’ injury-plagued, underwhelming season and the upcoming offseason.

Sept. 29, 2021