It’s been a while since I checked in with everyone and so I picked one of the best days ever (24th of course) to write my first post of the year!
For starters, I'd like to send a huge THANK YOU to the Obamas for being “Our American family” for the past 8 years. I literally cried watching his last speech, but I’m so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to visit with him & Michelle during visits to the White House.
I was incredibly honored to be invited to his final going away party a few weeks ago. It was my husband's first visit to to the White House so it made the party that much more special. It was the party of all parties! Guests weren't allowed to bring cellphones to the party & the guest list was jaw dropping!
Parnell & I at the White House : )
Everywhere I looked, I was excited to see someone that I knew, watched on TV and/or just simply wanted to say hi to! President and First Lady Obama were in there just walking around and hanging out too. It’s funny because I don’t get star struck, and I wasn’t in there either, but it’s almost like I came alive. Joe Biden, Queen Latifah, Common, Chance the Rapper, Bill Murray, Robert De Niro, Hill Harper, Chrisette Michele, J Cole, Wendell Pierce, politicians, and of course the NBA was represented too with my fave Alonzo & Tracy Mourning, Ray and Shannon Allen , Magic & Cookie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Grant & Tamia Hill, Jordin Sparks, Dave Chappelle. Maya (Moore) and her mom were there so the 4 of us got to hang for a bit too! Talk about a fun night! The music was awesome, the people were awesome, and it was definitely bittersweet knowing what the night represented. I was just thankful to be able to share it with my hubby and the Obama’s : )
1st #24Forever Wednesday Challenge - Choose your ONE WORD for 2017
This year I wanted to start something a little different than I’ve done before to keep all of you engaged and to get everyone anxious and motivated to make this year one unlike the others. I started #24Forever Wednesday Challenge as a way to encourage everyone to commit to different activities each week. So, every Wednesday I’ll post a different challenge for everyone to engage in. While there will be a new one each week, if you choose to keep doing something on your own, there’s no stopping you!!
My 1st game commentating w/ LaChina Robinson & Courtney Lyle for the Texas A & M at Kentucky game.
For the next few months you’ll see me on the sidelines commentating for ESPN & the SEC Network. Honestly, I don’t know how that came about, but now that I’m three games out (I did TX A&M @KY, GA @ KY & LSU @ TX A&M) I am enjoying it. I never saw myself doing commentating because I just didn’t think I’d be good at it, and I put myself inside a box stating that 2 professions I wouldn’t get into would be COACHING & COMMENTATING. Well… I’ve gone against my word in one, and now instead of saying that I won’t coach I say “I’m just not ready for it : )” I know people will keep asking, and with all of the cool stuff I have going on right now, I don’t know if I’m up for the full time coaching job.
Clockwise starting at top: Scholar Athlete Dinner, Halloween party at Flanner House, Catch on to Fitness & Parent Wellness Clinic, Conversation with our Future, Holiday Camp, Back to School Celebration and our CTSF Reading Corner
We have some exciting things coming up this year with my Catch the Stars Foundation. Last year we opened up our 2nd Active Reading Corner at Riley’s Children’s Hospital (Currently at Christel House Academy, Brookside location closed). One thing we vowed to do as a foundation is find a way to stay engaged and be active within the Corner. So, this year we are committing to hosting monthly events with our Riley patients and families. I’m so excited about “preping our youth to catch their dreams one star at a time.”
Our 16th Annual Holiday Camp was a huge success! Crazy how we spend 365 days preparing for a 3-day camp and it comes and goes so fast. Then we start the process all over again… But, I LOVE IT!!! Plans are already underway for this year’s Holiday Camp that will be December 27th -29th. The early bird special of $50 is thru the end of February. Make sure that all youth between the ages of 9-15 GET SIGNED UP!!
TC Shoot Out Sat/Sun – April 1st – 2nd
CTSF Scholar Athlete Dinner Thursday, May 25th
#24Forever Fundraiser Night/ TC Jersey Retirement Saturday, June 24th
Chicago Road Trip Team Sunday, June 18th
Back to School Celebration Sunday, July 23rd
Conversation with our Future Thursday, November 16th
Catch on to Fitness Clinic Saturday, November 18th
Parent Wellness Clinic Saturday, November 18th
CTSF Holiday Camp December 27th – 29th
**Legacy Tour Dates to be added for this upcoming season
All good things must come to an end and although I've been mentally preparing for my retirement, I was hoping that my finale would include celebrating with my teammates while hoisting that highly coveted WNBA Championship trophy. But, unfortunately, I’m sitting on my couch, bundled up in my blanket, thinking about the last 24 hours and if there’s anything that I could’ve done to help prepare us even that much more to have a different outcome in last night’s game. Honestly… there isn’t.
Staff from my 1st years here - COO/GM - Kelly Krauskopf, Asst. Coach - Julie Plank, Team Dr - David Harsha, Trainer- Holly Heitzman & Strength Trainer - Greg Moore
I don’t remember the outcome of my very first WNBA game. I don’t remember who we played, if I had a good or bad game, or really any of the intricate details of the game. My one and only memory I have is the building being packed as the expectations I’d be playing in my first game as part of the Indiana Fever. As the announcer screamed my name through the mic, the crowd went crazy!!! Even now thinking about it I get the same chill bumps I got then, and my heart instantly started beating faster. What a feeling!!
Don't mess with US!! Your Indiana Fever - Rita Williams, Nikki McCray, Olympia Scott-Richardson & Alicia Thompson
It was at that moment, and through the years following, that I knew this was my home- Indiana Fever was MY team and Indianapolis would become MY city. I pledged that I would give every ounce of myself every day and that I would give whatever I could to the franchise to help us be successful - early morning workouts, playing overseas, doing whatever I could to be the BEST that I could be. Nothing has changed.
LOVE MY SQUAD!!!
This year, we’ve had so many highs and lows this year, but every stop allowed us to grow stronger - individually and collectively. I saw huge strides made both on and off the court. We stood united on social issues that meant a lot to us. We took a stand (and knee) in our support for wanting to be a PART of the change that must happen in our world. Overall, I think we opened eyes to being way more than just basketball players. I said this earlier on an interview, “I don’t know if I have ever been on such an emotional team as this one.” But, you know what? Now, looking back, I have seen myself grow just as much as each of them. They have pushed me just like I have pushed them. What an amazing ride!!
Tonight as I walked off the court for the final time with my team, the tears flowed down my face, the heavy heaves and heaviness took a hold of me. I love my teammates more than they’ll ever know! I love this city, our fans, this organization and all of the amazing people that I’ve come in contact with over the years! I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve given my family, my Catch the Stars Foundation and me! Wow… God is so good!!!
One chapter closed...
Well, it literally feels like time has gone by in a blink of an eye, but it takes me back to the beginning and my first game with the Fever. For 15 years you guys have helped mold me into who I am today and I’m so thankful. I didn’t know what God had planned for me then, but what I’ve read and know is Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
While one door is closing, God’s in the works of opening up another one for me. And, one thing I do know is that I have the support of all of you that have watched me. I’m proud of the journey I’ve been on and excited about the next chapter.
Thank you to EVERYONE who has watched me on all levels. I literally have been playing on a team since I was 8 years old… that’s a long time. A lot of people encouraged, inspired, motivated, pushed, challenged, and showed me how to get here to this moment… THANK YOU!! I love each of you from the bottom of my heart!!
It's only the beginning... ; )
Until we meet again,
Catch on to Fitness Clinic - Saturday, November 5th https://secure.qgiv.com/for/catchthestars/event/773187/
Parent Wellness Clinic - Saturday, November 5th
Catch the Stars Holiday Basketball Camp - Wednesday, December 28th - Friday, December 30th https://secure.qgiv.com/for/catchthestars/event/768107/
Wow…I was so pumped up last night that I literally couldn’t go to sleep! I’m so thankful for and grateful to the Indiana Fever/Pacers Sports & Entertainment for putting together the most amazing and heartwarming retirement celebration. Special thanks to J Moss, Nike, City of Indianapolis, USA Basketball, my teammates (current & former), Pacers players (current & former) and each of you- the fans, for a night to remember!! God truly is SO GOOD!!!
Yesterday I woke up feeling a little sad, but trying to figure out how to make it a somewhat “normal” day. I was super excited to get ready to go to church and be able to share another powerful message from Pastor Ramsey with my family. I must say… now looking back the day started out pretty emotionally at church. A few of my family members walked up to the front wanting to recommit themselves to the Lord. Now, THAT was powerful!!!
Following church, we hit up LePeep’s for breakfast, I went home took a quick nap, iced my knees and then got ready and dressed for the game. On my drive to the gym, I had a moment to reflect and honestly for a second I’ll admit, I got scared about the future. Not necessarily about what I would be doing, but moreso about the unknown. For 16 years as a pro, 4 years in college and 8 years through high school and middle school (28 years total out of my 37 years on earth), I have woken up knowing my next step in playing basketball and having a goal of one day being able to make it pro fulfilled.
Family Time : )
Upon arrival at the arena, before I got out of the car I quoted to myself, “Left foot, right foot… breathe.” Pat’s mantra on how to get through any and every thing. I walked through the halls with a big “Thank you Tamika” picture plastered on the wall along with all types of notes from everyone that worked for Pacers Sports & Entertainment- my teammates included : )
Trying to walk around the locker room like it’s just a “normal” day with everyone sporting cool #24Forever shirts isn’t easy, but we all did it. The Dallas Wings team came over and presented me with a Wings jersey signed by all of them. And, as I gave them all hugs reality started to settle in. This. Was. It.
Warm ups were a blur, but as I looked around I spotted so many people that have been a huge part of my life, lined up around the gym. Focus Tamika… Focus!
My fave singer/ friend, JMoss!! Love you J!! #SoBlessed
I had my head down, eyes closed, hand over my heart, preparing for the National Anthem, but listening to the announcers speak. As they announced the person singing the national anthem I heard Tamika’s favorite artist and snapped my head up to my FAVE, J. Moss, at center court. I let out a scream before he started and then had to close my eyes as tears streamed down my face… the magic continues… When he finished I ran to center court, embraced him and started crying LOL. When I finally pulled away, again I reminded myself, “Left foot, right foot… breathe.”
The game was probably one of the best ones we’ve had in a while, and it was good to get back on track & really GEL as a team. We were rocking on all cylinders-it was electric! Looking out at the sea of white #24Forever T-shirts I was continuously thankful for all of the support I’ve received going throughout my entire WNBA career, but especially during my final season. A lot of notables in the crowd from all of my different walks of life here to celebrate my last regular season game with me. What a BLESSING!!!
As I came off the court my final time with 1:33 left in the 4th quarter, it’s almost like time froze as the whole arena erupted and I stood waving constantly mouthing “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” What an amazing send off!!! Walking through the line post game, I embraced every Dallas Wings player wanting to remember this game, wanting to pass on the torch.
Catchings- Smith family : )
Quick change and then back on to the court for the ceremony. : ) I had NO idea what would come next (believe me I’m still pinching myself)!!! Chris Denari, who has announced my Fever games since the beginning started off the night, and then he was followed by an amazing cast including Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Mayor Hogsett, Carol Callan (USA Basketball), Ilene Hauser (Nike), Jim Morris, Kelly Krauskopf, Rick Fuson, Lin Dunn, Stephanie White, Briann January, Lisa Borders & Rachel Simon. Absolutely amazing!!
What a Night!!
The gifts I received included a copy of my accomplishments entered into the Congressional record books along with my own personal flag flown the first day of our 2016 season from Brooks, a custom hoodie with some AWESOME lounge chairs (one Fever & one USA Ball) from Ilene, and my USA Basketball jersey framed and lined with all of my USA Ball gold medal team photos from Carol. Kelly Krauskopf presented me with a framed picture of me lined with the words that people have described me as- highlighted by the word Relentless!! Jim Morris presented an awesome captured drawing of me AND a $100,000 check from PS&E to my Catch the Stars Foundation, while Fuson capped the speakers and had a BRAND NEW LEXUS SUV pulled into the building. I couldn't even believe it. For the first time in my life, I was literally speechless. In shock. Overjoyed with gratitude.
Talk about being ON TOP of Cloud 9 : )
Needless to say, I will NEVER forget last night and all of the people I was able to share the night with. So many memories created in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and so many memories created in our Indianapolis community!! In my speech I just talked about never even imagining that I would be where I was, but so thankful for what God has blessed me with and for giving me so many amazing people to be in my life to share the memories with. Truly a blessing!!
THANK YOU INDY!!!!
Lots of pictures, autographs and finally food last night with the fam. Today, I woke up thankful for one of my greatest nights EVER and anxiously awaiting what’s next. But, before that happens… we have a Championship to win!!! So, I need everyone to be in the house on Wednesday as we get back to work and fight forward with one goal in mind-- #OperationSHIP (Championship that is… ; )