Fever Forward Tamika Catchings Wins Community Assist Award for July

-- Indiana Fever Forward Receives $5,000 donation for her Catch The Stars Foundation --

NEW YORK, August 23, 2006 – In recognition of Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings’ commitment to the community, the WNBA today honored her with the Community Assist Award for July. As the spokesperson for the Fever’s primary community initiatives: Be Smart – Be Fit – Be Yourself, Jr. WNBA and Read to Achieve, Catchings actively works with youth development programs through the team and her own charity organization, the Catch the Stars Foundation.

In July, she began the Catch the Stars Reading Corner, a reading area at the Christel House Academy in Indianapolis that encourages students to pick up a book and discover the joy of reading. Inspired by her involvement with the WNBA Read to Achieve program, Catchings is actively collecting books from fellow professional athletes and is working on developing additional Reading Corners throughout the country.

On July 10, Catchings hosted a Catch the Stars Basketball Camp at the RCA Dome, as part of the Indiana Black Expo’s Summer Celebration Kid’s Day. Volunteers helped her conduct a clinic for local youth, teaching them basketball fundamentals as well as the importance of sportsmanship and teamwork. Later that same day, she traveled to New York to take part in the 2006 WNBA All-Star festivities and WNBA Cares community efforts despite being hampered with an injury that kept her from playing in the game.

On July 19, Catchings took part in the fifth annual Fever Bowling Tournament to benefit the Fever Fund of the Pacers Foundation, a funding resource that supports Indiana-based community programs dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles among young women. Three days later, she hosted Catchin24.com Night for more than 300 fans, including a group from Knoxville, TN who she arranged to have visit Indiana for a chance to watch a WNBA game.

Catchings also participated in the Fever Give-A-Game program for the fourth straight year, through which she purchases a block of tickets to Fever home games and donates them to disadvantaged youth. This season, groups from Fountain City Mentoring, Girls Inc. and various other organizations were afforded the opportunity to attend their first WNBA game.

In 2004, Catch the Stars Foundation was created to provide academic and sports related opportunities for underprivileged youth and to motivate them to achieve their dreams and goals. Since then Catchings has reached hundreds of young people through the foundation’s “Catch the Fever” basketball camps and fitness clinics, and her additional work with the Indiana-based Big Brother/Big Sisters program, Goodwill and the Caring Place.

“Tamika’s devotion to her fans is what makes her extraordinary,” said Dan Gaines, Community Relations Manager for the Indiana Fever. “She always makes the extra effort despite other demands, travel constraints, injury, illness and a number of other limitations. At its essence, this award rewards self-sacrifice for others and that is what Tamika exemplifies.”

The WNBA Community Assist Award is presented monthly to the player who best reflects the league’s passion for making a difference in the community. In recognition of the recipient’s charitable efforts, the WNBA is donating $5,000 to the organization of her choice, the Catch the Stars Foundation.

About WNBA Cares
Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, breast health awareness, youth and family development, and education. WNBA Cares is a part of NBA Cares, an initiative through which the league, its players and teams will raise and contribute $100 million for charity, donate more than 1 million hours of hands-on volunteer service to communities worldwide, and build more than 100 places where kids can learn and play over the next five years.