When Tamika Catchings spoke to the media at the White House last Friday, she spoke of the stages a basketball player goes through and how she had finally realized her dream for this, the professional stage of her career.
"As you continue to grow and get to the next level - high school and then going to college and becoming a professional athlete - at every stage your dream is to win a championship," Catchings said. "And for us we've talked every single year about 'it's time - the Indiana Fever are finally gonna win.'"
The difference in 2012 is that it actually was time after 12 years of coming up short, 11 with Tamika on the roster and 10 with Tamika playing.
Catchings has more or less been a part of the entire history of the Indiana Fever. The one year the team existed without her was its debut season of 2000, when they went a franchise worst 9-23. The next year Tamika sat out with an ACL tear she suffered as a senior at Tennessee and the team improved by just one game.
But with Tamika playing in 21 or more games in each season from 2002 to 2012, the Fever have never had a winning percentage below .441 and have made the playoffs 9 out of 11 times, including their first championship run in 2012.
"Personally it's just an honor to be able to play in one city, with one team for your whole career," Catchings said. "It's just a blessing."
The Fever also led a Let's Move! basketball clinic for kids on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. The overall takeaway from that event was that they were just happy to be out there having those kids look up to them, now as champions.
It was unreal to be there as a reporter covering a championship team at the White House for the first time. You could tell the Fever were grateful to be there too and still had that "we proved the world wrong" mentality. Catchings even described the 2012 Finals series between the Fever and Lynx as "David and Goliath."
Obviously they were happy to talk about the past, but it was tricky because the new WNBA season was underway and the 1-4 start was sort of in the back of everyone's mind.
But the Fever didn't mind touching on that subject either. Even talking about their rough start couldn't ruin the moment, as at least for one more day they were the last WNBA team that could say they were still celebrating the accomplishments of 2012 that late into 2013.