As I laid in bed this morning I couldn’t go back to sleep. This is officially my final “First Day” of training camp. It’s crazy to think of the emotions that swirled through my head the first time I watched a WNBA game, to the that night I got drafted, then the first time I set foot in Indianapolis, the first time that I got announced on the court after sitting out the first year… the first time I scored, the first time I won an award… just so many firsts and even more memories.
I’m overwhelmed with emotions-today is the beginning of all of the end of my WNBA career. 15 years has gone so fast and now as I enter my last year, I’m ready. Besides God and my family, basketball has been my life for pretty much my whole life. Yesterday as I walked out of the gym after my last 7a workout before training camp starts today, I took a picture as a reminder. Everyday in the offseason, for the past 15 years, I’ve been in the gym preparing for the upcoming season- anxiously. And, now, here we are about to step into a day that I never dreamed possible. My grand finale.
The question that I keep getting is ‘how does it feel to know it’s your last season?’ It’s definitely surreal, but I’m excited. I’m excited for my teammates who will be ready to step into a different role this year and beyond. I’m excited about being able to spend my last and final year with them. I’m excited that I feel a peace from God that He’s got me and whatever He puts me into next will impact even MORE people than I’ve already reached. That’s AWESOME!!
This off season has been a whirlwind-speaking engagements, Catch a Star book launch/tour, Catch the Stars Foundation programs & events, my Final Four weekend Girls basketball Shootout and a lot of appearances. So, I’ve been a little busy, but it’s been so worth it. Traveling and being able to share the gifts that God has blessed me with- absolutely amazing!!
Many of you don’t know (or maybe you do)… I started playing basketball to be able to fit in and to be able to have something that would just “get me through and make me normal.” Basketball has given me WAY more than that. It has given me something for the past 25+ years that I could make my own. A reason to be in the gym, a passion that has an unlimited burn, and an opportunity to have a VOICE that I never thought I could have. It has given me the things that I continue to talk about when we look at the benefit of sports for our young people. I came in a shy girl just wanting to fit in, and I’m leaving a confident young woman that fits in to any and every category imaginable. A woman that as a young girl set a goal to be in the NBA, but has reached even more heights than that through the WNBA. A woman that has changed the game- both on and off the court. Confidence… Self-worth… Inspirational… Self-Confidence… Teammate… Warrior… Faithful… Servanthood… Passion… Determination… Passionate…
In this last season, I am excited to be sharing it with my teammates that have stuck by my side. I know they think there’s a lot of pressure, but the only pressure that I believe in is going out there and playing our absolute best. Whatever happens- happens. My goal is to build up leaders this season- to focus on preparing these ladies to step up and take ownership of our team. I believe and know that they are fully capable, but it will definitely be a little bit of an adjustment. Change always brings a little adjustment.
I want to thank my family, my teammates (former & current), Pacers Sports & Entertainment, the fans, classmates, teachers… everyone that has played a role in my life thus far. Every single one of you has pushed me to find my own personal greatness and to work so hard to achieve the unimaginable. I can’t thank you enough for your love and support along the way!! This season is for ALL of us and for all of the memories that we’ve been able to create on and off the court!! Thank YOU!!!
In my final WNBA season, we will conduct a 12-city Legacy Tour. With intentions of establishing a legacy of giving, and at the same time helping extend her Foundation into each of those cities for future events, the Catch The Stars Foundation (CTSF) will issue a $2,000 grant to a the team/player foundation that promotes fitness, literacy and mentoring, similar to the Catch The Stars mission – for a total of $24,000 across 12 WNBA cities. The cost for fans and corporate partners to attend each Catchings Legacy Party is $24. The first 75 registrants in each city will receive a Catchings’ Legacy Tour t-shirt. Fans can register to attend at CatchTheStars.org.
Tamika Catchings 2016 Legacy Tour Schedule
- Sunday, May 29 at Atlanta (3:00 p.m.)
- Friday, June 3 at New York (7:30 p.m.)
- Tuesday, June 14 at Minnesota (7:00 p.m.)
- Friday, June 17 at San Antonio (7:00 p.m.)
- Saturday, June 25 at Dallas (7:30 p.m.)
- Wednesday, June 29 at Chicago (12:30 p.m.)
- Wednesday, July 6 at Los Angeles (7:30 p.m.)
- Friday, July 8 at Phoenix (7:00 p.m.)
- Sunday, July 10 at Seattle (4:00 p.m.)
- Saturday, August 27 at Indiana (7:00 p.m.)
- Sunday, September 11 at Washington (4:00 p.m.)
- Tuesday, September 13 at Connecticut (7:00 p.m.)
All times LOCAL. Dates may not coincide with Catchings’ final game in each city.