By Adrienne Goodson
Tamika and I talked back in March about this and about that but most of all about her eagerness to return to the court. Honestly, there is nothing more trying than an injury. The mind game that your body can play with you is unexplainable and a true lesson in patience – a lesson that has moved with Tamika from rehabilitation to the hardwood. Our conversation went from place to place but mainly focused on Indiana’s trade for hometown favorite Katie Douglas and the progress of the WNBA. Here’s a few minutes with Tamika Catchings and her thoughts of 2008:
We all know how hard it was to sit and watch practice as well as games in the playoffs. Comment on how focused your foot injury has made you over the last several months.
My foot injury has had me real focused on what I want to do this season. The thing I think about with coming back from this injury is not just being back on the court. I want to do more than that- I want to be effective on the court.
Teams have made a lot of strategic moves in the off-season. What adjustments will Indiana have to make in order to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference this season?
I think we have made some key changes thus far by adding Katie Douglas to our roster. Of course, I would have loved to keep all of my teammates that we have lost thus far, but in building to win a championship unfortunately, some players have to go. I’m hoping that everyone will come back in shape, and ready to roll. We will have a new system to put in and learn quickly, but if everyone’s ready to go, that’s half the battle.
The WNBA is a business and teams are in it to win championships. Indiana has added Katie Douglas to the roster. What can she possibly bring that wasn’t there already?
Katie is a consistent shooter in which we haven’t had. She knows how to win, and she brings that veteran mentality to our team. I think chemistry wise; she will fit in with our team, and help to get us all where we want to be- on top with a championship.
You are known to be one of the most “hard working” individuals in the league. Comment on what it takes to be a Tamika Catchings in this league.
What it takes to be Tamika Catchings huh? I would have to say just having that will, passion and desire to be the best out there on the court. That is what I have. I am always striving to be better today than I was yesterday, and that’s what I think about while I’m out there on the court. I want to be the best “Tamika Catchings” can be. I don’t compare myself to the next person, or the next greatest- I compare myself to how I was yesterday and where I see myself being one day.
You do a lot of community work for the WNBA and your own Foundation called “Catch the Stars.” Talk about how important it is for children that are hearing impaired to see and hear your story.
I think it is very important for kids all over to see and hear my story. Whether you are hearing impaired and have a disability or you don’t, my story relates to all. The work that I do in the community with Catch the Stars Foundation and the WNBA is a platform that I am able to use to reach out to many more kids. I love being able to make a difference in our kids’ lives, and help provide and opportunity for them like I was provided when I was a young girl.
“Progress is Progress” was the quote you used to describe your feelings about the new CBA. The players’ needs were clearly the focus of this agreement and largely discussed. Comment on some of the other progress that was made in regards to Marketing and Group Licensing.
Foot wear – player must have a $5,000 signed contract in order to wear another shoe other than Adidas.
Appearances – the number a player must do before they actually get paid. It used to be 10 or 11.
Foot wear – I believe that’s correct – you can sign with a competitor as long as the pays at least $5,000 or more.
Appearances – 10 appearances before you actually get paid. The 11th appearance you begin getting paid every 3rd appearance…11th,14th, 17th, 20th, etc.
Timing is everything and has presented itself perfectly in Indiana. The Fever sit in third place in the eastern conference with a 6-4 record but not comfortably. Katie Douglas, Tan White, Ebony Hoffman, and the newly awakened Tammy Sutton-Brown have held it down but now Tamika is back and her numbers are climbing fast. Her momentum will surely begin to take off just around the playoffs and that too will be perfect timing.
The league is evolving day by day, Indiana made a good trade, Tamika’s achilles is healed, and the team has a group of new leaders. All of these things are a good recipe for success but the battle is not over. It has just begun. The battle to set the team on higher ground is here. A place that Tamika is all too familiar with – a place named championship.