May 15, 2021
Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for Laureus
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has been enshrining former coaches, players, teams, contributors, and referees since 1959 with notable inductions in Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, 1992 United States Olympic Team, James Naismith, and Darell Garretson. 2020's Hall of Fame Class features nine inductees in Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings, Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, and Patrick Baumann. Here's what former WNBA player and current Indiana Fever General Manager Tamika Catchings vocalized during the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Virtual/In-person Press Conference on Friday.
Question: You tore your right ACL during your senior year at Tennessee involuntarily forcing you to miss the entire 2001 WNBA season. Who were the people and things that motivated you to return healthier and stronger not just for your rookie season, but also moving forward?
Answer: The biggest motivation for me to return healthier and stronger after I tore my right ACL at Tennessee during my senior year was because I got drafted into the WNBA in 2001 to the Indiana Fever as the 3rd overall selection. Pat Summit, the coaching staff, and the players at Tennessee surrounded me every single day until I left for the league doing an amazing job of keeping me committed and focused on looking to the future rather than the past. I perceived the WNBA was disparate from college basketball in size, strength, and agility with a courtside view of every game from the bench in 2001 succoring me to adapt myself/my game for prospective seasons. Another key motivating factor for me to return on-court was that I knew that I possessed the apt skills to compete in each and every match throughout the course of my career as a member of the Indiana Fever if the opportunity was bestowed upon me. It was important to me that I achieve my dreams/goals while being in the association.
Unfortunately, the video and audio will be unavailable for these interviews as the video and audio rights belong to the Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Basketball Association. A special thanks to Marc Spears, who moderated the press conference skillfully. Make sure to tune into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2020 on ESPN today at 5:30 PM Eastern/2:30 PM Pacific.