Rosemont, IL -- After her 26-point performance, Fever's Tamika Catchings, hosted an event for her "Catch the Stars" organization on her Legacy Tour today at the All-State Arena.
There she shared her story with her fans. She told stories of her childhood and how she used to get bullied because of her hearing aid, and the way she talked because of her hearing impairment.
Catchings said she used to come home crying from school, begging her mom not to make her go back. "My mom would wipe away my tears and tell me she won't let me give up."
From that moment, Tamika made her decision to become good at sports. Catchings said, "If I became great in sports, I will actually be picked first rather than last."
Tamika then got involved in everything she could. "I played volleyball, basketball, track. My mom even got me involved in gymnastics- terrible, dance class- I was terrible at that too.(the crowd laughed) I even played the Baritone in band."
The 2011 MVP, 14-year vet for the WNBA, and five-time defensive player of the year, also gave tribute to the Late Pat Summit, who passed away Tuesday.
"Pat's legacy is a part of my legacy," Catchings continued, " Pat helped me see my "disability" as a part of me apart of my journey- not a disability."
As her years with the WNBA come to an end, Tamika said she doesn't want to be honored. Instead, she wants to turn it around and make it about the foundation and giving back.
Catchings founded "Catch the Stars" back in 2002, when she was drafted to the Indiana Fever. Fourteen years later, her organization is still going strong.
On her legacy tour, Catchings will be passing out 12 $2,000 grants to organizations that give back to less fortunate children. The significance of 12 represents each of the cities that plays host to a WNBA team. Therefore each city has or will hold an event.
Today, she gave a $2000 grant to the Chicago Sky for their Chicago Sky Give Back Organization.
A childhood friend, Samantha Wosik, shared with me how much she appreciated what Tamika does. She wants to instill all of Tamika's hard work and dedication into her son.
"When I tell you she is hands on; she is hands on like crazy. She will be at all of her events from start to finish."
Wosik's son participated in one of Catchings camps, and she saw a huge improvement.
"She stresses the fact, that defense wins championships. We saw improvement in my son right away. His work ethic and dedication also improved after attending her camp," said Wosik.
I asked Wosik's son if Tamika was his role model, he responded with a nod," You took the words right out of my mouth."
Catchings' final WNBA season is very important to her. Through her Legacy Tour, she hopes to continue to impact so many young children.
"At the University of Tennessee, Coach Summit told me, 'You will have the opportunity to meet millions.' Back then I said yea right, but look at me know. I'm on the right track."
The All-Star will also have the opportunity to play in the Olympics this summer. She has high hopes of bringing the Gold back to America.