The WNBA will be saying goodbye to one of their all-time greats after this season. Tamika Catchings is in her 15th season, and the WNBA itself has only been around for 20 years. Sort of like the way that NBA fans can’t imagine what the league will be like without Kobe Bryant, WNBA fans will be the same when Catchings is gone.
Her longevity isn’t the only reason that she will be remembered and looked up to by basketball junkies everywhere. She has built a resume like no other and all of her colleagues gave many reasons why her legacy will live on.
Catchings is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, 10-time All-Star, five-time Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA MVP, and WNBA Champion. Her accomplishments don’t even end there. She’s also the all-time career leader in win shares(89.07), second all-time in total points scored(6966), sixth in assists(1425), and first in steals(1014). Catchings didn’t just do one thing well on the court. She was a jack of all trades and her competitive spirit and will to win was something her opponents and teammates always admired.
Ticha Penicheiro “…It’s very hard to have your best player be your hardest worker and that’s what she is.”
Chiney Ogwumike “Her competitive will got her team to turn around halfway through last season and be in the Finals. She’s so special because of how hard she plays, and that’s not just on offense but defense as well.”
This is exactly where the role model status comes into play. Tamika Catchings shows players of all ages, genders, and sizes that being a great player and leader is a lot more than just putting up the best numbers. She shows night in and night out that constant hard work will get you to where you want to be. There aren’t many players in the NBA or the WNBA that can say they’re a DPoY and a MVP. Those kinds of accolades are reserved for some of the best of the best. Especially in the current day of basketball, which is driven by a heavy focus on offense, the skills that Catchings shows on both sides of the ball is rare sight to see. On top of that, it’s not often to see the best player on the team out working everyone else who is still trying to make a name for themselves.
The work ethic she shows is reminiscent of one Kobe Bryant that could tell stories of being in the gym until the wee hours of the night. Current day NBA comparisons might include LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard. However, some may even call her the Michael Jordan of the WNBA.
So, to all those hoopers out there who want to become one of the best, remember two things; An outstanding work ethic can turn good into great, and if you want to be great, learn from the greatest. Tamika Catchings will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the women’s game, so start taking notes.