Tamika Catchings tops Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees

Other legends of the 2021 class who were inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night were Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash.

In addition to the two players, the following members were made in history: Debbie Brock (veteran player), Carol Callan (contributor), Sue Donohoe (contributor), Lauren Jackson (international player), David Stern (posthumously, contributor) and Carol Stiff (contributor).

“To the pioneers of the game,” said Cash, “thank you for allowing a skinny tomboy like me to stand on your shoulders with pride and hope for a better future for our game.”

The class also included former NBA commissioner Stern, who helped form the WNBA in 1997. He passed away on January 1, 2020, and his son accepted the award on his behalf.

“The WNBA was my father’s baby,” Eric Stern said, by the PA. “It was something he had to fight for. He had to spend a lot of professional capital, and even a little personal capital, to get there.

“There were a lot of skeptics. He tended to like conflict and didn’t care at all. He did a lot of civil rights work while growing up. He had a strong belief in fairness and equality.

For Catchings, the induction ceremony was a loop moment.

“In the summer of 98, I was an intern at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” she said. “I made sure the floors were clean and the exhibits were dusted. I was able to discover the history of women’s basketball and appreciate those who fought for women’s rights. The word “heritage” is one that I hope you will remember. I was a by-product of so many before me.

Catchings told tales of his playing days in Tennessee, recalling in living memory the late Pat Summitt’s “two steel blue eyes”. She then spent her 15-year WNBA career with the Fever and was part of the US Olympic team which won four gold medals from 2004 to 2016.

Throughout her playing career, Cash, a four-time WNBA star, has won three WNBA Championships, two WNBA All-Star MVP awards, two NCAA titles and two Olympic gold medals. And now she’s the current vice president of New Orleans basketball operations.

“And finally, I will say this – to whom we give a lot, it takes a lot. A lot of us here today have a lot, so be sure to give back,” Cash said. “Invest in women, invest in our game, invest in each other. God bless you.”

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