WNBA star Arike Ogunbowale explains decision to withdraw from Olympic team pool after Caitlin Clark snub

The U.S. women’s national basketball team has been a hot topic over the past several days after news surfaced that WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark would not be on the 2024 Olympic roster.

Diana Taurasi, Kahleah Copper, A’Ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and Sabrina Ionescu make up the final 12-woman roster.

While Clark’s omission sparked numerous debates, she was not the only player arguably snubbed. Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale, recently revealed she decided to remove herself from the Team USA pool of players ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

During an appearance on the “Nightcap” podcast, Ogunbowale expressed her belief the selection committee was not interested in picking her due to her apparent lack of overall fit with the team.

“When it comes to [the Olympic trials], it really doesn’t have much to do with your game,” the three-time WNBA All-Star told “Nightcap” co-hosts Shannon Sharpe and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. 

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“It’s really about who they feel like fits with the team. So, I actually took my name out the pool months ago. That’s not saying I didn’t think maybe last year I would be on the team, and I was good enough to make the team. But when the list came out, I knew I would not be that one.”

Arike Ogunbowale on the basketball court

Ogunbowale entered Saturday’s game against the Connecticut Sun as the second leading scorer in the WNBA, trailing Las Vegas Aces star and two-time league MVP A’ja Wilson.

Ogunbowale also leads the WNBA in steals.

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She added that “politics has always surrounded” women’s basketball and suggested the selection criteria is inherently subjective.

“Everybody’s great in the WNBA, so who they choose is who they choose,” she said.

“Whether that’s USA Basketball, whether that’s All-Star teams, whether that’s first team and stuff like that, there’s politics,” Ogunbowale said. “Even with the men’s [basketball teams]. There’s politics in everything, so I’m gonna just leave it at that.”

Arike Ogunbowale with the basketball

Ogunbowale or Clark could be named as a replacement for Gray. The Aces star has yet to appear in a game this season due to injury.

Ogunbowale earned All-WNBA honors in 2021 and 2022. She was the league’s scoring champion in 2020.

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