Another year, another All-Star game for Tamika Catchings. The Indiana Fever forward has been voted an All-Star starter every year she has been in the WNBA.
Catchings missed last seasonís All-Star game with an injury to her left Achillesí tendon and had to watch the Eastern Conference win its first All-Star game. This year she is healthy and ready to head to Washington, D.C. next week to try to make it two in a row for the East.
WNBA.comís Brian Martin caught up with Catchings shortly after she was told of her All-Star invite to discuss her 2007 selection and some of her favorite memories of previous All-Star games.
Q. What was your reaction when you heard you were voted as a starter in the All-Star game again?
Catchings: "Iím super excited about the opportunity with the fans voting me in and having the opportunity to get back on the court and play with a lot of the players that Iíll probably never get a chance to play with. "
Q. Youíve been voted in as a starter every year youíve been in the league. Has this become routine to you?
Catchings: "Oh no, itís not an expectation. If anything, itís something that I enjoy doing and itís something that Iím very honored to be a part of. Its one thing to get voted in by your coaches and by your peers, but it means a lot to be voted in by the fans to be a part of the All-Star weekend and to be a starter in the game."
Q. What are some of your best memories from previous All-Star appearances?
Catchings: "Obviously winning. Even though I wasnít actually on the floor last year, to be there and witness the first win by the East was definitely a good memory. Every single year is different. I think the best thing about All-Star overall is being in a setting where youíre around a lot of players that you donít have the opportunity to be around on an everyday basis. You get the opportunity to talk to them. I remember when I was just a rookie and having the opportunity to play with a lot of the veterans that I had dreamed of playing with when I was younger when the WNBA first came around. Now you look at all of the new All-Star players, itís their first time being able to be a part of the whole All-Star experience. Itís kind of cool to talk to them about what itís like and being able to compare it to your own experiences that you had in the past."
Q. Your teammate Anna DeForge was surpised about being named an All-Star starter. Are you excited for her to be able to experience this weekend with you?
Catchings: "Iím excited about having Anna there. We made history, the first time in Fever history to have two All-Star starters, so Iím definitely excited about that. For Anna, sheís having a good year and sheís been in the league for a while. She was kind of surprised and I think that makes it even that much more special because she didnít really expect to make it, but then she did. Itís definitely a blessing."
Q. Last year you were injured, but still went to All-Star weekend. What was it like being around, but not being able to play? Did that take anything away from the experience?
Catchings: "The biggest thing it took away was just not being able to play and I had fans come up to me and say ďWe really wanted to see you play,Ē and ďWe love the way you play.Ē Hearing comments like that made me wish I could get out there, but they all understood. It was good being there though and having the opportunity to see the other players that were able to come in place of a lot of us that were hurt. They had such a good time and played really so well and they made history as far as being the first team to win for the East."
Q. Youíve mentioned the fans a lot. Do you get a chance to interact with the fans during the weekend?
Catchings: "We do quite a few events. They have the All-Star Jam Session. Itís like a big playground thing where you can go out and interact with the fans and we try to get out there and do that and sign autographs and play some of the games. I know I do a lot of stuff here in Indiana, but during the All-Star game they do a great job of getting us out in the community and allowing us interact with the fans."
Q. What is your favorite event All-Star weekend?
Catchings: "My favorite event to watch or participate in is the actual game. I do like the Skills Challenge, thatís hot right there. I had the opportunity to do it, not last year, but the year before and I missed the last layup, I couldnít believe it. It was fun to be a part of it though."
Q. Is there an event you would like to see added?
Catchings: "Yeah, the dunk contest (laughs). Iím just kidding. I havenít thought about it really. Iím sure theyíll come up with something fun to add in the next couple years."
Q. Youíll be heading down to Washington, D.C. for the All-Star game. Do you have any favorite things to do while youíre in D.C. Any favorite places to go, places to eat?
Catchings: "I have family there, so they try to take me to different places each time I go, so I canít say I have a favorite place to eat. We were just there and we went to Clydeís. Iím looking forward to trying out some new stuff when I get there."
Q. Having played in a lot of All-Star games, is winning the All-Star MVP a goal of yours?
Catchings: "Honestly, I just want to be a part of the winning team. I didnít have the chance to actually play when the East won last year. Iím good with getting a win and bringing it home."
Q. How do you like the Eastern Conferenceís chances this year?
Catchings: "I think we have a good chance. I think with all of the acquisitions that were made last year and this year, we have the opportunity where we have good crew that can step in and play. It will be a lot of the same players we had last year. There will be some new faces, but there will be quite a few of the players that were there last year too. I think it will be a good challenge."
Q. The starting lineup is made up of all Fever and Shock players. Will it be odd to play with so many Detroit players while your two teams battle it out in the Eastern Conference?
Catchings: "I can definitely say it will be a lot better than playing against them."
"I just want to be a part of the winning team," says Catchings. "Iím good with getting a win and bringing it home."
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