Tamecka Dixon retires
…after chatting with SLAMonline about her career.
by Stephen Litel / @stephenlitel
Fever guard Tamecka Dixon announced her retirement today. When the 2009 season ended, only four players remained from the WNBA’s inaugural season. Tamecka Dixon was one of them and now leaves the league with 3,368 points (tied for 21st all-time), 924 assists (eighth), 342 steals (20th), 9030 minutes (13th) and 328 games (tied for eighth). Although those statistical accomplishments are great for the three-time All-Star, it is clear her favorite memories are team accomplishments.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to communicate with Tamecka, allowing her to reflect on her career and give us a glimpse of what lies ahead.
SLAM: You are one of the few remaining players from the WNBA inagural season. Does that remain something special for you?
Tamecka Dixon: It really meant a lot to me to be one of the few remaining players from the inaugural season. I really took a lot of pride in carrying the torch for all of the players that were once a part of the league. I’ve been around a long time and was really fortunate to be a part of all of the twists and turns the league took. I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something I consider really special.
SLAM: Thoughts on playing this long?
TD: It’s a blessing to have had a career last this long. God has truly watched over me because I missed major injuries and things that would have prevented me from performing at a high level. It is a blessing to be able to play this long and witness the passing of the torch to the younger players to continue.
SLAM: Do you have a particular game that really sticks out in your memory today?
TD: There is one particular game that sticks out in my head and that would be the last game of the first championship with the Sparks. We played our hearts out and when I finally realized that we had the game in the bag, all the memories of training camp and the battles we had in practice came to mind. It was special moment for me walking off the court and being embraced by my teammates who I considered many of them to be sisters. It was surreal, really special and I remember not being able to contain my emotions.
SLAM: Does one particular season stand out as your favorite year in the league?
TD: I had a favorite two, almost three seasons and, again, that has to be my championship years. The team was just a close knit group of girls and that’s really what made those moments special to me. We were like sisters and when we hit the court we played like it. We started all All-Stars and there was never any talk about shots and who was getting them. Only thing that mattered was the W. It really was a special group and a special time for me.
SLAM: You’re in the top-25 in many statistical categories in WNBA history. What does that mean to you as you walk away?
TD: Records are made to be broken so I’m sure mine will as well, but I’m thankful for the success that I had in the league.
SLAM: What accomplishment in your career makes you the most proud?
TD: My proudest accomplishment is just being a part of the make-up of what is widely recognized as the greatest mix of women’s talent. I’m proud of that and I can walk away knowing that. I have been fortunate to be a part of a few championships and that will never be erased. That accomplishment can never be taken away, so I’m mostly proud of that.
SLAM: What has been the biggest change in the WNBA during your time in the league?
TD: In the beginning, the WNBA was owned by all NBA franchises and I thought that gave a significant amount of power to what the WNBA meant. There were certain perks that came with that and something that allowed the league to really gain its footing and own identity. Ownership is shifting and that’s ok too. People in other endeavors are showing interest in sports ownership and that could only prove good for the sport. The more people interested the better.
The players are also changing. When I came out of college, there was no blueprint for me to follow. Everything was new and so I had to find my own way. Now young girls in middle school and beyond can see what’s ahead of them. They understand that basketball can provide something special and it can propel them to work a little harder to achieve a goal of one day playing in the WNBA. Since girls are working at younger ages, the quality of players is changing. That’s the difference.
SLAM: What would I do if the WNBA didn’t exist?
TD: When I was younger I always loved animals, so a veterinarian would have really been a good occupation for me. But my experiences in the WNBA have taught me that I have a fondness for numbers, so now I’m about to start obtaining my Masters in finance.
SLAM: What’s next for you?
TD: Well, I’m pursuing a Masters degree in finance and I started a company with my personal trainer and my father training kids, so I’d really like to spend some time in those avenues for a while. I’m really looking forward to it.
SLAM: How do you hope fans will remember you when looking back on your career?
TD: I hope fans will remember me as a player that gave my all all of the time. I truly appreciated the fans that supported us and made every effort to sign every autograph and shake every hand. I wanted every fan satisfied and I would hope that they all agree with me on that.