Guest Post: Tamika Catchings
The WNBA legend details a heartfelt moment from overseas.
Tamika Catchings needs no introduction. You already know her gifts as a player, her generosity as a philanthropist, and her humility as a person.
But what you aren’t always privy to is a first-hand account of these qualities directly from the source; Tamika provides that below. You’ll see how dedicated she is as a player and how kind she is as a person. You’ll read, straight from Tamika, how appreciative she is to make a living playing basketball and how humbled she is to have die-hard fans across the globe.
In the first of her guest posts for SLAMonline, Tamika shares an inside look into life overseas in Turkey and how she changed the life of an elderly woman while heading to the team bus.
Just another day in the life of Tamika Catchings — and you won’t find this anywhere else.
Also, be sure to look out for an exclusive feature article with Tamika in an upcoming issue of SLAM Magazine.
by Tamika Catchings
Hey SLAMonline readers,
I am so grateful for this opportunity from my SLAM man, Ben York, to be able to give you a glimpse inside of my life. I am over here in Istanbul, Turkey playing for a team called Galatasaray with my Indiana Fever teammate Katie Douglas, San Antonio Silver Stars Sophia Young and Atlanta Dream’s Yelena Leuchanka. I have been here since January, but I have had an amazing experience. Almost everyone in my family has had a chance to come visit me over here. And, while I have seen the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and every other tourist place you can visit about five times each, there’s nothing like sharing the moments with the people you love!
We’re fresh off of winning the Turkish Cup two weeks ago, and just got back from a road game in Adana, Turkey. We played against Tarsus which hosted another one of my Fever teammates Briann January, L.A. Sparks Betty Lennox and Tulsa Shock’s Chante Black. We won the game, but of course Chante and Bri did their thing (Betty didn’t play). After the game, I hurried up, took a shower, dressed, got my ice and headed to the bus.
When I walked out there were all of these people waiting on the players to come out. I kind of looked up, put my head down and started to walk toward the bus. Then out of nowhere this older lady stepped out from the crowd and started clapping. I looked at her, smiled and then proceeded to get mobbed for pictures and autographs from the fans. While I signed and smiled, she stood to the side just gleaming at me as my grandmother always does. When I was finished I headed to the bus, and waited on my teammates. Then I saw the lady again by the front of the bus just watching and holding her hands together like this was the best moment ever. Our equipment manager was outside of the bus with a mob of people around him while he passed out Gala gear. And, again, she was just watching from afar, smiling and taking in the moment. I don’t know what it was, but I jumped out of my seat and off the bus, and found someone to help me get some of the gear so I could give the lady whatever it was.
As our equipment manager handed me some gear people started turning to me to see if they could get it. I walked toward the front of the bus, turned and handed the lady the shorts and jersey he had given me. When I tell you I was about to cry because of the joy she showed, I wanted to cry. She tried to talk to me and one of my teammates had to translate for me. She said, “I’m 60 years old and this is the best day of my life.”
Wow! Now that truly was the icing on the day. As I stood in my seat watching her, she found me on the bus and continued to hug her newly acquired Gala uniform while waving at me with happy tears in her eyes.
This is WHY I LOVE THIS GAME!!
Oh yeah, I want to give a shout out to all of the new WNBA Draft picks. Advice… Have fun, enjoy the moment, and never take a play off! Simplicity in the making, LOL! Congrats to our Fever draft picks too Jene Morris, Joy Cheek and Armelie Lumanu!
Until next time,