A veteran of the Indiana Fever, Tamika Catchings is entering the first year of a two-year contract extension, along with having new head coach for this season. Luckily enough they have prior standing.
"I'm excited about Stephanie (White) being our new coach," said Catchings. "For my first few years with the Fever, we were teammates. She spent some time broadcasting, and transitioned into coaching as an assistant, and now head coach. We have a strong relationship and it differs because she's only two years older than me!"
A champion on and off the court, she took a moment to touch on her charity and foundation efforts. "I have been working with Catch the Stars for the last 10 years. We have made great strides, and now under the Laureus umbrella, we can transition to our next phase," said Catchings.
"Catch the Stars has always had the goal to engage kids on a global scale through mentoring and fitness education. The big thing is making sure kids have an opportunity to reach their goals. We focus on age groups 7-16 girls and boys, with the intent to make a difference in these children's lives."
Catch the Stars most recent event was a great success. "Last Thursday we gave out scholarships totaling $2500. We have given over 80k in 11 years," explained a happy Catchings. "It's amazing to see the kids grow and pay it forward.
"Additionally, we have a yearly road trip to Chicago with fans and have them spend the day with us. They get to enjoy great food, do a meet and greet, give out gear like backpacks, and be involved with fitness clinics and basketball camps."
Recently, Catchings was announced as ambassador of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, "I was sought out by them to support the mission and inspire change. They look for athletes with charitable organizations. After doing research, we concluded that their mission ties hand in hand with Catch the Stars, and we are excited to be a part of the Laureus Foundation."
Reflecting on the game itself, she tied how basketball affected her childhood development, and why it is so important for future children. "As a young girl I had a speech problem, had to wear glasses...the game allowed me to find my place. I played lots of sports and fell in love with basketball," said Catchings.
"It brought out my confidence and taught me dedication and persistence. The more I practiced, the better I got so dedicated myself to getting better. Basketball gave me life skills and made me who I am. I give back to basketball through my play. My passion for the game is evident by my play on the court."
As she enters into the final two years of her contract, she spoke on the present and future of her career. "I get asked if I want to coach often, but my aspirations are for the front office, I want to be a GM," said Catchings. "I would love the opportunity to manage a team and make a difference in players and kids lives. As for the season I am really excited for this upcoming year!
"My focus is to be a great leader, getting players back from injury, building respect and camaraderie for the new additions. We will set the tone for on and off the court as we go into the following year. This is an exciting time for the Fever, we have a great team this year and expect big things"