INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tamika Catchings is one of the state’s legendary basketball players.
If you were to just scratch the surface of her career, you’d see a 10-time All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist. She is also a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame candidate. But, the work she’s done off the court, some would say, matters even more.
On the court, she was there to play hard. Defense, offense, and sheer power, that was her dance. She played 15 seasons with the WNBA Indiana Fever and she earned every moment in the spotlight.
“When I think about legacy I really think more about the off-the-court stuff,” Catchings said. “It’s easy to be on the court and do what you do when you’re working and you train, but how do you impact lives beyond that?”
After the buzzer. When the crowd cheers die down and the ball stops bouncing, the fever continues. Even after leading her team to a championship victory she’s entering sort of a fifth quarter in life where she can focus on her other passion.
“The love that I have in the community, especially for the kids, that really is my passion for people that’s really why I’m here,” she said.
On top of her work as Fever vice president of basketball operations and general manager, she overseas her “Catch The Stars foundation.”
“Someone paid it forward for the next generation. And now it’s my opportunity to pay it forward for the next generation. Because pretty soon there will be someone else in the seat.”
Since 2004 the foundation has provided empowering programs to young people in Indianapolis by promoting fitness, literacy and youth development. That’s on top of the programs offered at her business Teas me Cafe Indy.
“Being able to leave a legacy. Live life accordingly. Not just on the court but off the court.”
Building her legacy wasn’t easy. She worked in they gym. And being born with a hearing impairment, she worked on her confidence. And that’s the most important part of the game called Life.
“I want these young kids to realize. no matter what kind of disability like I honestly feel like my disability is a super power,” Catchings said. “You know no matter what you have, you have the ability. You can push through it you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.”
And she’s not quite done growing.