Sports Xtra: Tamika Catchings' 'storybook' run to the Hall of Fame

Tamika Catchings.JPG
Posted at 11:44 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 23:44:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS — She's staying at home like the rest of us. But there was a moment for Indiana Fever General Manager Tamika Catchings that briefly put the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic in the rear view mirror.

Timing has always been one of Catchings' strong suits. When to drive.When to shoot. Ironically, the timing of her Hall of Fame call was very much in question.

"I got the call on Friday. I had to get outside and was in my car," Catchings said. "I'm must driving around. They said between 3 and 5 I'd find out and I thought, 'My gosh, they're gonna wait until 4:55,' so I just need to get all of this angst out."

Ultimately, it's a numbers game and number 24 had it all covered. A career average of 16 points per game with the Fever, league and finals MVPs and of course the 2012 WNBA championship.

"When I look back at my career, I'm so thankful that this little girl had the opportunity to have her dream made, thankful they brought a WNBA team to Indiana and thankful they put it under the Pacers umbrella because I don't know where I'd be," Catchings said.

She's part of a massive Hall of Fame class, which includes the late Kobe Bryant, a fact all the more telling when you consider both of their fathers played together in Italy. These family photos, especially now, become priceless.

"It is bittersweet but I also think it's a celebration," Catchings said. "I don't feel sadness. I feel happiness. I feel like I'd still be able to celebrate him and he's looking down on us smiling because that's what he always had."

Call it a pure gold finish to a career that also included four Olympic gold medals.

"When you look at storybook endings this is just a great ending. It's awesome," Catchings said.

The next time you see her banner in the rafters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, they'll add the words Hall of Fame.