Catchings On Dealing With The Media

June 13, 2007
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    Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
    Tamika Catchings is putting up All-Star numbers once again, and fans and media, alike, are taking notice. Could this be her first MVP season? How far will she carry the Fever? Can Indiana reach its first WNBA Finals?

    Catchings fields all of those questions when addressed daily by local or national media – whether on TV, radio or in print. And in typical Tamika fashion, she fields those questions as cleanly as she collects steals and assists and points.

    FeverBasketball.com’s Kara Albert spent a Tuesday afternoon with Catchings, after a local magazine photo shoot, of course, to learn some of her thoughts about the media.

    FeverBasketball.com: In general how do you deal with the media?
    Tamika Catchings: “I would say you can make the media into your friend. I try to always be respectful. You always touch on old issues and things you don’t want to talk about, and you can get to a point with certain media people that you can answer a question without really answering the question.”

    FB: Most of the media that deal with you aren’t always familiar with you personally, so how do you deal with the media sometimes asking you personal questions?
    TC: “When you come across those questions, I think there is a way to be personable and answer their questions without being too personal. If I really don’t want to talk about something, I still respond in a respectful manner. There is a way to communicate to a certain media figure that sometimes you may not want to talk about certain things.”

    FB: Have you had any bad experiences with the media?
    TC: “Not that I can think of.”

    FB: Any weird questions?
    TC: “I think I am one of the fortunate ones. I am usually prepped on what the media is going to be talking about and forewarned on what they might be asking me. I am usually prepared.”

    FB: How is the media different in the professional basketball world compared to the media during your time at Tennessee?
    TC: “Early on at Tennessee, it was more about the media asking questions about all the other players and the star players on the team. Then when they left, it was all about how am I going to step up and fill their shoes. I would say the media was like that when I first joined the WNBA too. In the beginning, they wanted to know about all the other players and the pressure of playing with them and filling their roles. Now, the media knows so much about you with all these random facts, it’s kind of overwhelming sometimes, but really good that the interest is there!”

    FB: Are you ever nervous talking to the media?
    TC: “Nervous to the media? Not really. I think I get more nervous when I have to go in front of a group of people and speak. A lot of people find that surprising too because I play basketball in front of a lot of people. But, speaking, that’s different.”

    FB: Favorite type of interview?
    TC: “Radio. I like the radio just because you don’t have to worry about what you are wearing or what you look like. You can do the interview from anywhere. All the radio interviews that I have done, they have been really fun. The radio DJ’s have to be fun and entertaining or no one is going to listen to them. They have so much fun and energy.”

    FB: If you know you are going to be on a certain TV program, do you record it?
    TC: “No, no, no. I don’t like to watch myself.”

    FB: Ok, what about news articles? Do you look at them when you are mentioned?
    TC: “I don’t really read them, I might glimpse through it. I think I get them more from my parents and family. They will send me articles they see or text me and let me know. “

    FB: Is there anything you don’t like talking about with the media?
    TC: “Individual awards. I don’t like talking about conflict, either.”

    FB: How do you deal with getting asked the same questions over and over?
    TC: “I will kind of try to bring it in to the conversation. But I try to be understanding, because if reporters don’t get all my answers at the same time, that’s going to prompt those same questions again. I understand that maybe some of the reporters were talking to other players when I was answering questions earlier. It comes back to just always respecting each other.”

    FB: How was the media different when you were playing in Korea?
    TC: “Obviously, the language barrier was kind of hard, so I had to use a translator. Most of the interviews we did over there were press conferences. So we did all the media at one time. That was nice.”