This year, four WNBA players will be in Houston to participate in NBA All-Star Weekend. Tamika Catchings, Maya Moore, Tina Thompson and Swin Cash will all be in the Sears Shooting Stars contest at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on TNT, and Catchings and Moore will also play in the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN.
Here are some of the accomplishments of these four great players that have made them among the best in their sport:
WNBA Team: Indiana Fever
It says a lot about Catchings for her to have been the 2011 WNBA MVP and to have finished in the top five in the voting for that award almost every year of her career thus far. But for Tamika it was all about getting that one thing her incredible resume lacked - a WNBA championship, something she finally captured in 2012.
Catchings was the MVP of last year's finals, averaging 22.3 points per game in the Fever's 3-1 series win over the defending champion and favored Minnesota Lynx. The title came at age 33 for Tamika, who is still at the top of her game and was named all-WNBA first team as well as Defensive Player of the Year last year. She now has a WNBA-record five Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
This will be Catchings' fourth time participating in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. Her first appearance came in 2007 and she has also been the past two years. In the past she has teamed up with Reggie Bush, Nick Cannon, Bow Wow, Scottie Pippen, Common and J. Cole to name a few.
The excitement of NBA All-Star Weekend will be nothing new to Tamika, but she'll have a little extra swagger with her this time around, now that she is a WNBA champion.
WNBA Team: Minnesota Lynx
Moore started her much-anticipated WNBA career off with a bang, helping the Lynx win a WNBA championship in her first year after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 WNBA draft. She became the first WNBA rookie to start every game of the season and averaged 13.2 points per game en route to a spot on the starting roster of the Western Conference All-Star team.
In her sophomore campaign the Lynx fell short of a repeat, but Moore upped her points per game average to 16.4 and finished in the top 15 in the league in scoring, rebounding and assists per game. She still has yet to miss a game or a start.
Maya made a name for herself by dominating women's college basketball at UConn and after two solid seasons in the pros it seems fitting that the player many see as one of the faces of women's basketball right now get the chance to celebrate her success and represent the WNBA in her first celebrity game.
WNBA Team: Seattle Storm
Thompson is the WNBA's all-time leading scorer and has the unique distinction of being the only player in league history to have played in every season since the league debuted in 1997. She won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets and has averaged over 15 points per game nine times during her career. In 2011 she was recognized as one of the top-15 WNBA players of all-time.
2012 was Tina's first year in Seattle and she adjusted to mostly coming off the bench for the first time in her career. The past two seasons, one of which was in L.A., have seen Tina average in single digits scoring for the first times.
But the thing that stands out about Thompson has to be her longevity. To be the only one who has been in a 16-year-old league for the whole time is pretty special.
WNBA Team: Chicago Sky
Cash is a three-time WNBA champion, twice with the Detroit Shock and once with the Seattle Storm. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and was the 2002 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Swin, like Catchings is no stranger to NBA All-Star Weekend, having participated in the celebrity game in 2006, 2008 and 2011. And it's cool for NBA fans to get to see her any time she's in an All-Star event, like the Shooting Stars contest she will be participating in this year, because she is someone who has excelled on the All-Star stage. She has made the WNBA All-Star game four times in her career and was the game's MVP in 2009 and 2011.