Having spent her illustrious 15-year WNBA career playing for the Indian Fever until her retirement in 2016, Tamika Catchings is no stranger in the Hoosier State. Not only is she celebrated for endless basketball achievements, she is also a highly regarded leader in her community. It should come as no surprise that readers of the Indianapolis Star recently voted her “Best Human in Indianapolis.”
It also should come as no surprise that she received the first ESPN Humanitarian Award in 2015. For nearly 15 years, Catchings, also known as Catch, has been empowering young people through her Catch the Stars Foundation. Established in 2004, the foundation offers programs focused on fitness, literacy and youth development for children and young adults, including a holiday basketball camp, athlete scholarships and reading corners in schools and community centers. The Catch the Stars Foundation is just one of her many ways of giving back though.
In 2017, Catchings bought a tea shop in Indianapolis, renaming it Tea’s Me Cafe Indy. Growing up, Catchings would only join her sister for tea parties if her sister would reciprocate by playing basketball with her. She called tea their “negotiating power.” Now the shop serves as a vibrant community space featuring local art, musical entertainment and events such as her speaker series geared toward men and women seeking career success. Catching states, “I love making people happy, and tea makes people happy, and tea makes me happy.” She’s determined to spread that happiness beyond one tea shop too. She aspires to make Tea’s Me the Starbucks of tea.
An ambitious business woman with a master’s degree in sport studies from the University of Tennessee, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree and an NCAA title, Catchings currently leads Pacers Sports & Entertainment as director of player programs and franchise development, with hopes of becoming the first female general manager in the NBA. In 2016, she also published a book called “Catch A Star: Shining through Adversity to Become a Champion,” which details struggles she overcame on the road to success, including hearing loss, bullying and family separation.
Catchings somehow makes time for other charitable efforts too. Recently she participated in a celebrity cook-off for Children’s Bureau, an organization that provides social services for abused and neglected children in Indiana. Apparently Catchings is a pro on the hibachi grill too, placing third in the challenge. We look forward to seeing what Catchings dishes up next in her burgeoning post-WNBA career!