NLBM to go one-on-one with WNBA star Tamika Catchings

News Release | March 7, 2008
Kansas City, MO – The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) will celebrate “Women’s History Month” by going one-on-one with professional basketball great Tamika Catchings. The four-time Kodak All-American, Olympic Gold Medalist and perennial All-Star for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever will share her amazing story as part of the museum’s “Black Women in Sports” series from 10 a.m. to Noon, Saturday, March 15, 2008 at the NLBM (1616 E. 18th Street). The conversation, hosted by KSHB 41 Anchorwoman Cynthia Newsome, is free with a paid admission to the NLBM ($6 for adults; $2.50 kids under age 12).

Catchings, the daughter of former NBA player Harvey Catchings, has quickly established herself as one of women’s basketball’s top professional players and arguably it’s most versatile star. Indiana selected Catchings with the third overall selection in the 2001 WNBA draft. An injury sidelined her that entire season, but she bounced back in 2002 and became WNBA “Rookie of the Year” and was runner-up in voting for League MVP and “Defensive Player of the Year.” Catchings has led the Fever in scoring, rebounding and assist in each of her five years in the league. She is a five-time All-Star and a five-time All-WNBA selection. She won back-to-back “Defensive Player of the Year” honors in 2005 and 2006 and was named to the WNBA All-Decade team in 2006.

As a freshman at the University of Tennessee, Catchings helped lead the Lady Volunteers win the NCAA National title in 1998. That team compiled a remarkable 39-0 record and is considered by many to be the greatest women’s college basketball team ever. In 2001, she was named Naismith “Player of the Year.” Catchings graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management. She received her Master’s Degree in 2005.

“Tamika Catchings has built an exemplary career that is still blossoming,” said Bob Kendrick, NLBM director of Marketing. “Her immense talent and work ethic coupled with a strong sense of community embody the spirit of the Negro Leagues.”

And, as much as Catchings is driven to succeed on the court, she has brought that same tenacity to her off-the-court community service. She hosts several basketball camps and fitness clinics in the metropolitan Indianapolis area to provide youth with an opportunity to learn basketball skills while also focusing on the importance of sportsmanship, academics and goal setting.

In 2004, Catchings earned her third WNBA Community Assist Award for her outstanding involvement in the community. She created her “Catch the Stars Foundation Inc.” in the spring of 2004. The foundation provides youth with organized programs geared toward motivating them to set goals, dream bigger and achieve more. “The Catch the Stars Foundation is preparing youth to catch their dreams one star at a time,” Catching said.

In the summer of 2004, Catchings fulfilled a dream by helping the U.S. women bring home the Gold Medal in basketball at the Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece.

The NLBM developed its “Black Women in Sports” to recognize the contributions and impact that African-American women have had on the sports world. Catchings joins a list of notables who have participated in the museum’s Black Women in Sports series including former Negro Leaguer Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, basketball greats Cynthia Cooper and Lynette Woodard and gymnast Dominique Dawes.

For questions or more information about Black Women in Sports or other NLBM programs, call (816) 221-1920 or visit the museum on-line at www.NLBM.com.