In family and basketball, sister protects sister.
When a man rushed at the Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike after a postgame interview Sunday, Chiney jumped in front of her older sibling to fend off the intruder.
The Sparks had just routed Seattle in a WNBA playoff game at L.A.’s Staples Center, but the buoyant atmosphere turned scary:
“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw, ‘Oh, shoot, like what’s going on here?’ And some dude was coming at us,” Chiney told the Southern California News Group. “And so I just jumped in, because I’m expendable ― she is not! We need her. Middle sister gotta always take one for the team.”
The younger sibling’s actions deterred the dude just enough before security tackled him.
ESPN reported that the fan, who was approached by security earlier for doing pushups on the court, appeared to have something in his hand.
The sisters helped the Sparks defeat the Seattle Storm, 92-69 to advance to the semifinals against the Connecticut Sun. Nneka, the 2016 WNBA MVP, had 17 points and 6 rebounds. Chiney contributed 6 points and 4 rebounds.
“I think he was just a very enthusiastic fan who maybe got caught up in the moment,” Nneka told reporters, in the clip below. “But we have the security in place to manage those situations.”
And fortunately for the star player, she had her sister as well.
The Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a Sparks team spokesperson referred questions to Staples Center and its ownership.