Wings' Arike Ogunbowale withdrew from consideration for U.S. women's Olympic team due to 'politics'

"It really doesn't have much to do with your game"

Amid the controversy over Caitlin Clark being left off the USA women's basketball roster for the 2024 Olympics, many WNBA fans pointed out that Arike Ogunbowale was another notable snub from the team.

The Dallas Wings guard is a three-time WNBA All-Star who also earned first- and second-team All-WNBA honors during her previous five professional seasons. She also won the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game MVP award. So far this year, Ogunbowale is putting up the best numbers of her career, averaging 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game.

At Notre Dame, she won the 2018 national championship and was named the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player, in addition to earning ACC Athlete of the Year honors.

Appearing on the "Nightcap" podcast with Shannon Sharpe and Chad Johnson, Ogunbowale explained that she took her name out of consideration months earlier because she could see how politics were factoring into the selection process.

"I pretty much had an idea that I wouldn't be on it," Ogunbowale said. "I just felt the vibes. When it comes to that stuff, it really doesn't have much to do with your game."

"I actually took my name out of the pool months ago," she added. "When the list came out, I know everybody was like, 'Arike should've been on it.' I knew I wouldn't be on it. That's not saying I didn't think maybe last year I would be on the team, that I was good enough to make the team."

With her 24.9 points per game, Ogunbowale is the top-scoring guard in the WNBA. (A'ja Wilson is the league's top scorer overall at 28 points per game.) She certainly faced tough competition at that position on the Team USA roster, including Diana Taurasi, Sabrina Ionescu, Kelsey Plum, Jewell Loyd, Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young. Yet as Ogunbowale said, fit is apparently also a consideration in a subjective process.

"When I think of women's basketball and how many years I've been playing in college and pro, politics is always surrounding it," Ogunbowale said. "Whether that's USA Basketball, All-Star teams, [All-WNBA] first-team, stuff like that — there's politics. There's politics in everything."

Wings head coach Latricia Trammell spoke up for her star and criticized Ogunbowale's omission from the USA roster.

“I don't like it,” Trammell said, via ClutchPoints. "But I am very proud of the players that did make it. I know that they will represent our country extremely well. But you always talk about Arike, needs to be in the MVP talks. … I was disappointed that I did not see her name because I think she deserves it. I'm not taking away from the players that did make it.”