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

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The United States Women’s National Basketball Team has been in the headlines in recent days since news emerged that WNBA rookie player Kaitlyn Clark will not be making the 2024 Olympic team roster.

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

Clark’s removal has generated a lot of controversy, but she’s not the only one to have been ignored. Dallas Wings guard Areke Ogunbowale recently revealed her decision to opt out of the U.S. national team roster ahead of the Olympics in Paris.

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Areke Ogunbowale of the Dallas Wings during a game against the Chicago Sky at College Park Center on May 18, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. (Michael Gonzalez/NBAE via Getty Images)

While appearing on the “Nightcap” podcast, Ogunbowale expressed the belief that the selection committee was not interested in selecting her due to her apparent lack of overall fit with the team.

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

NBA legend Julius Erving supports Caitlin Clark’s decision to leave out Olympic team: ‘Take it easy’

“What really matters is who fits on the team, so I took my name off the table months ago. I thought I might make the team last year and I thought I was good enough to make the team, but when the list came out I knew I wasn’t going to be on it.”

Arike Ogunbowale on the basketball court

Arike Ogunbowale (24) of the Dallas Wings handles the ball against the Indiana Fever during a WNBA preseason game at College Park Center on May 3, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. (Cooper Neal/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ogunbowell entered Saturday’s game against the Connecticut Sun as the WNBA’s second-leading scorer behind 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 women’s basketball has “always been riddled with politics” and suggested the selection criteria are inherently subjective.

“All the players in the WNBA are great, so it’s their choice who they pick,” she said.

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

Arike Ogunbowale with a basketball

Arike Ogunbowale of the Dallas Wings drives to the basket during a game against the Phoenix Mercury at Footprint Center on May 25, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images)

Either Ogunbowale or Clark could be named as Gray’s replacement, with the Aces star yet to play a game this season due to injury.

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Ogun-Bowell was named All-WNBA in 2021 and 2022. She was the league’s leading scorer in 2020.

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