WNBA Biography: Tamika Catchings

I know I’m telling my age, but I remember watching Tamika Catchings’ dad, Harvey, a former backup center for the Philadelphia 76ers back in the 1970s, in my hometown, when I was just a prepubescent snot-nosed brat.

Advancing age or not, I have to say that Tamika Catchings has turned out to, not only follow in her father’s immense footsteps, but surpass the level of competent play of her easy-going dad displayed “back in the day.”

That’s right, the younger Catchings is one of the best female basketball players on the entire planet. Indiana’s fifth-year, multi-talented forward, returns after leading the Indiana Fever in points, rebounds, assists and steals in each of her first four pro seasons – a feat no other WNBA player has accomplished in even one of those seasons.

Catchings, the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, has shown her incredible consistency by finishing among the top three in balloting for the WNBA MVP award in three of her four pro seasons. She is also the franchise’s first 2,000-point scorer and has scored in every game (134) of her pro career.

Catchings is a three-time WNBA All-Star and four-time All-WNBA recipient and has earned the WNBA Player of the Week honors eight times in her career.

Catchings is just the fourth player in WNBA history to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds, hand out 400 assists and snare 300 steals in her career and has career averages of 17.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game during her career.

Incredibly, Catchings has reached those milestones in fewer games (125) than any other player in WNBA history, achieving all four milestones in just her fourth season. Catchings was also a starter on the Olympic gold medal winning U.S. team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Off the court, Catchings is one of the country’s most highly regarded citizen-athletes and was invited to President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address in 2004. She was also named as a finalist for the 2006 Wooden Citizenship Cup, presented annually to the nation’s top professional athlete who exhibits outstanding community service. Catchings is also the current president of the WNBA Players Association.

This season, Catchings is back at her best once again, averaging 16.2 points per game and 7.7 rebounds through 13 games – in what appears to be another all-star season.

With a resume like this, I’m sure good ol’ dad doesn’t mind taking a back seat to his gifted daughter – heck, a lot of people do these days.

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