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Q & A with U.S. Olympic/ WNBA Superstar Tamika Catchings

Date: 8/1/12

During SGMA’s 13th National Health Through Fitness Day this past spring (Wednesday, March 7), SGMA’s Director of Communications had a chance to speak with WNBA superstar/U.S. Olympic basketball team member Tamika Catchings about a few issues that are important to her.

1.) Question from Mike May:  Why is the issue of more PE in schools for children and more physical activity so near and dear to your heart?

Answer from Tamika Catchings:  Once I started walking as a little girl (around the age of two), I have been  involved in a lot of different activities.  My mom and dad always made sure we were involved in a variety of sports and activities that got us moving and got us fit.  Right now, physical education is not in a number of the schools and the obesity rate is way beyond what it needs to be and what it used to be.  After looking at all the (electronic) games today’s kids are playing – the Wii, the Xbox, the DSs, the Playstation, PSPs – we have to get these kids outside.  As I look at my life, my childhood, and what I am doing today as a professional athlete, fitness is a huge component (of my life) and why I am able to do everything that I do.  The importance of fitness influences everything I do in life – on and off the basketball court. 

2.)    Question from Mike May:  Where would your life be today if you had not been exposed to sports, fitness, and the importance of athletics?

Answer from Tamika Catchings:  Honestly, I don’t know where I would be.  Sports have been such a huge part of my life.  To even think about not being involved in either a team sport and an individual sport is difficult to imagine.  P.E. was always one of my favorite classes, next to math, in school.  I can’t even think about what I would be doing right now if I wasn’t involved in a sport of some kind!

3.)    Question from Mike May:  What kind of exercise do you do to stay in shape – during the basketball season and in the offseason?

Answer from Tamika Catchings:  During the season, it’s a lot easier.  During the season, we have practice every day and we have weight training.  There are different activities on and off the court.  In the offseason, I like to focus on basketball.  I do an exercise that’s sort of a combination of all the martial arts.  It helps me with my footwork and my (foot) speed.  I also do swimming classes which are non-impact that don’t irritate the Achilles and the knees.

4.)  Question from Mike May: As a professional basketball player, besides the WNBA, where else have you played professional basketball?

Answer from Tamika Catchings:  I played overseas for nine years.  I did five years in Seoul, South Korea; two years in Istanbul, Turkey; and one year in Poland and half a year in Moscow.

5.)    Question from Mike May: What’s the future going to be for you – looking five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the road?  You may or may not be in the WNBA.  Where do you see yourself in the world of sports and fitness?  Will you be a coach?  Will you leave the sports industry?

Answer from Tamika Catchings:  Right now, I have my own foundation called the Catch and Stars Foundation.  We are catering to under-privileged boys and girls, ages 7 to 16.  We focus on three different areas:  Fitness, Literacy, and Mentoring.  We have programs that link between all three of those areas of concern.  Some of the bigger things for me are that I love working with children.  And helping them see that their dreams become true.  There are a lot of people who helped me get to where I’m at.  In the 7th grade, I had a dream to be an NBA player and I think of all my coaches, my teammates, and teachers who helped me along the way.  My original goal coming out of college (at the University of Tennessee) was to be the general manager of an NBA or a WNBA team. I want to eventually become an ambassador for the WNBA, when I am finished playing.

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