Who Is Tamika Catchings?

Who Is Tamika Catchings?

On July 21, 1979, the world said hello for the first time to Tamika Catchings. Hers is one of our many inspiring stories, as she was born deaf and had a successful basketball career. Here are a few details about the legend.

The Beginnings

Many athletes start shining in college, but some catch the eye of the coaches and teams even while in high school. Catchings belongs to the latter group as her first great achievement on the basketball court happened when she was only 18. In Duncanville, Texas, Tamika reached double digits in all five categories in a game, making her achieve a so-called quintuple double with 25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals, and 10 blocks. This was the first of the three known quintuple doubles in history, all of which were achieved by high school girls.


During her college years, she was an All American for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, and her professional games started in 2002 with Indiana Fever, the team Catchings remained mostly loyal to throughout her career. When she was drafted in 2001, she had to skip a season due to injuries, but when she returned to the court it was as if she never left.

The year she played her first professional matches was the one where she outshined all newcomers with 18.6 points and 36.4 minutes, on average, per game, accumulated 76 three-pointers, and was the first one to lead the team to the playoffs. In other words, the relationship between the Fever and Catchings was akin to symbiosis. She was always trying to improve herself and to be the best she could be for the team and her teammates. In turn, the team treated her right.

Throughout this relationship, she has done some amazing things for the team and her track record proves it. After all, she was the MVP of WNBA in 2011, MVP in the WNBA Finals in 2012, won Olympic gold four times and led the team to gold in two World Championships. She is 1st all-time in career playoff scoring, 1st all-time in career playoff rebounds, 1st in total career steals and 1st in career steals per game average at the end of it all.


Tamika was born with a hearing loss. A way to circumvent the problem in her case was to wear hearing aids. However, children can be pretty cruel with teasing for the smallest of reasons and young Tamika was a target. It got so bad that, in an effort to fit in, she threw away her hearing aids. She did not wear them until college, where Pat Summitt, a coach, reached out to her and encouraged her to put them back in.

Let us take a break for a second and think about what this means. Of course, hearing aids provide quite a bit of support during matches. However, the first time Tamika entered history was in high school for her legendary quintuple double. That means that a basketball player with a hearing loss achieved what no one else, neither in WNBA or NBA, had done before her – without her hearing aids. There lies the proof of what one can achieve with a strong will and determination, in spite of what world throws at them.