Fever, USA star values family time
Tamika Catchings is hoping to add a third gold medal to her collection in London. The leader of the Indiana Fever also won basketball gold with Team USA in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
Catching her off the court, she is most likely with family.
"We never referred to her as Tamika," said Catchings' sister Tauja, who lives in Hendricks County. "It's always just 'Mika' or 'Mik Mik' every once in awhile."
"I mean, we're like two peas in a pod. Very different, but very much alike. I think for me, when my brain shuts down, I can always kind of send people to her and she's my right hand woman," Tamika said.
"She can be brutally honest with me. I can be brutally honest with her at times, she obviously doesn't want to hear it, you know, the same for me, but we are sisters we love each other we would do anything for each other," Tauja said.
Brother Kenyon is the oldest sibling. He lives in St. Louis.
"He's the one Tauja and I would always team up on. Stealing his money, killing his goldfish. No, he was a good guy. It was the ultimate challenge to play against him. I always wanted to beat him. That was my goal in life," Tamika said.
"It wasn't even so much beating me as also her and Tauja playing together and they had a lot of bloody battles over the years, so it's been a lot of things that drove her to where she is today," Kenyon said.
"From the time she was in 7th grade basketball, it's what she said she wanted to do. I remember her seeing Tennessee, but she said, 'I am going to go there. I'm going to be an Olympian. I am going to play professionally.' At that point there wasn't even an WNBA, but she said, 'I am going to play with the men, if I have to," Tauja said.
Tamika joined the Fever in 2001, earned the league MVP award last year and now hopes to lead Team USA to what would be her third consecutive team gold. With all those accolades, her nephew, who dreams of an NBA nod, is most impressed with his aunt's character.
"She's strong-minded. Everything she does, she does it to the fullest," he said.
Tamika created the Catch Stars Foundation, which offers scholarships and supports young people. It is work that will continue when her playing career ends.
"Probably the thing I'm most proud of is...she's always had that drive to not only take from the game, but to give back," Kenyon said.