Retiring Catchings leads Fever to 83-60 win over Wings, leaves with a Lexus

Tamika Catchings in a video honoring her retirement from the Fever on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (WTHR Photo)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Indiana Fever honored the 16 year WNBA career of Tamika Catchings during a one hour postgame ceremony Sunday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The retirement celebration followed an 83-60 blowout win over the Dallas Wings. Catchings scored 16 points with seven rebounds, two steals and an assist in her final regular season game.

Catchings checked out of the game with 1:33 left, receiving a rousing standing ovation from the 17,704 fans wearing "#24 Forever" white t-shirts. Nearly the entire crowd, which included Pacers legend Reggie Miller, stuck around for Tamika's retirement ceremony.

Former head coach Lin Dunn with Rich Nye (WTHR photo)

The house lights were brought down and chairs on the court were filled with Catchings' family, current and former teammates, coaches, politicians and executives from NIKE, USA Basketball and Pacers Sports and Entertainment. The speakers list included Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Mayor Joe Hogsett and WNBA President Lisa Borders.

Former Fever head coach Lin Dunn, who led the franchise to its only WNBA title in 2012, received the loudest ovation among the guest speakers.

"You are a giver like I have never seen before," Dunn told Catchings. "The other thing that you will be remembered for is how you made other players better. You're simply the best. You're better than all the rest."


Many of the speakers talked about Tamika's many contributions off the court through her Catch the Stars foundation that promotes literacy, fitness and youth development.

"She decided from day one that she wanted to make a difference," said Fever head coach Stephanie White. "Boy, has she ever made a difference in the state of Indiana and the Indianapolis community."

White played with Catchings then coached her as an assistant and head coach.

"I was lucky to be your teammate," White told Catchings, pausing and choking back her emotions. "I'm honored to be your friend. I am so proud, so proud of who are. We thank you for gracing us with your presence every day for making us better people."

Pacers Sports and Entertainment presented Tamika with a $100,000 check for her Catch the Stars foundation and a Lexus SUV for her to drive into retirement. NIKE presented Catchings with two armchairs upholstered in her Fever and USA Basketball uniforms. She also received a portrait of herself in her basketball uniform.


After all the gift presentations, Catchings took the microphone.

"Wherever I go, whatever I do next, whatever that looks like - I can't thank you enough for supporting my family and I, for welcoming us in to Indiana, a place that all we did know was that they played basketball," Catchings told the crowd. "But it's so much more. I’ve lived here longer than I've lived anywhere in my whole entire life and literally this is home. This is home for us."

The often emotional Catchings remained composed, telling the crowd she has given every ounce of energy to being the best player she could be for the past 16 years.

"When you give that much, my tears have already been shed," said Catchings. "So whatever happens next, just know each one of you guys lives right here in my heart. I'm so thankful that this journey ends here on this court."

The journey is not over yet. The Fever host the Phoenix Mercury in a one-game first round of the WNBA playoffs Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.