Thatcher Park basketball court named in honor of Tamika Catchings

By Scott Agness

May 28, 2013

It was all a big surprise – and quite the honor – to Tamika Catchings. The Indiana Fever forward and 2011 WNBA Finals MVP found out during a recent, non-related luncheon that there would be a basketball court named after her at Thatcher Park on Indy’s West side.

A group of eight individuals, which included Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Catchings and Rick Fuson, the Pacers Foundation chair and COO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, broke ground on “Tamika Catchings Court” Tuesday morning.

“It’s not everyday that you can wake up and have an opportunity to have a court named after you,” Catchings said. “This is a huge honor.”

The Indianapolis Park Foundation announced at a news conference that the city of Indianapolis, Pacers Foundation and Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) were teaming up to build or renovate outdoor basketball courts that kids play on every day. In the five-year initiative costing over $1.1 million – $625k combined from Pacers Foundation and IPL along with $500k from the city – parks throughout Marion County, beginning with Lentz, Olin, Parcel 15, and Thatcher, will receive a welcomed upgrade.

“The core purposes of this organization are winning championships and serving community, so we are pleased to invest in our parks, our community and our youth,” Fuson added.

Catchings has been a huge part of the local community since she was drafted by the Fever in 2002. Even with her commitment to the Fever and the Olympic team where she won three gold medals, she’s gracious with her time, heavily invested in the city as well as the founder of her own foundation, the Catch the Stars Foundation. Just last week, Catchings and her teammates, who won the WNBA title last season, served as Grand Marshal for the 500 Festival Parade, and she hosted her foundation’s scholar banquet. All with the season just getting underway.

“She does such a great job and everybody loves her so much,” Mayor Ballard said. “And the Fever have represented us so well over the last few years, we just can’t say enough about them.”

Catchings was blown away by the honor and she already has ideas of how to utilize the court named after her along with others in the county. She’d like to go around to the different parks and hold instructional sessions. Thatcher Park is less than 10 minutes from her home so it’s a great fit.

These improvements are part of an ongoing campaign within the Indy parks system. It is their hope that they can enhance every park, which in turn would benefit as many kids as possible. For Catchings, that’s where her professional goal formed and her ambition came out.

“Just thinking about my road and my journey of becoming a professional basketball player, it started on the courts outside, bouncing a basketball,” she said.