Tamika Catchings: WNBA’s Deaf Hall Of Famer

Tamika Catchings may not be a household name – but she should be. She’s had one of the most accomplished career in women’s basketball. And yes, she did it while being deaf.

A five-time WNBA All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Catchings has had a storied career.

She is also one of the few players in the history of the sport to achieve a “quadruple double” – a game in which she tallied double digits in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.

Tamika Catchings: Overcoming Her Deafness To Play Basketball

But what makes Catchings’ story even more remarkable is that she is practically deaf.

Her hearing loss was discovered when she was a child, and she has worn hearing aids since she was three years old. Her hearing loss is bilateral, meaning it affects both of her ears.

She was eventually diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, a condition that causes progressive hearing loss.

By the time she was in high school, Catchings was completely deaf in her left ear and had only partial hearing in her right ear.

Listen to Tamika Catching talk about her hearing impediment in this interview with the NCAA:

Despite her disability, Catchings went on to have an incredible career at the University of Tennessee, where she was a four-time All-American.

She was drafted by the Indiana Fever in 2001 and went on to have a successful WNBA career, winning a championship with the Fever in 2012.

Catchings has also been an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people throughout her career.

In 2006, she founded the Catch the Stars Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides resources and opportunities for children with hearing impairments.

Tamika Catchings is an inspiration to anyone who has ever faced a challenge in their life.

Despite her deafness, she has become one of the most successful players in the history of women’s basketball.

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Tamika Catchings: Birth & Childhood

Catchings was born on October 3, 1979, in Stratford, Texas.

She was the youngest of three girls born to Harvey and Wanda Catchings.

Her father played basketball for Prairie View A&M University and her mother was a high school track star.

Tamika’s older sisters, Tauja and Tiffany, both played basketball at the University of Illinois.

Tamika began playing organized basketball at age four, and by high school she was one of the top players in the country.

She was the first basketball player in the country to record a quintuple-double – achieving double digits in four of the five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a single game. Catchings achieved this amazing feat in high-school while she played for Duncanville High School in 1997.  She scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out 11 assists, and made 10 steals – an incredible feat that shows her versatility both as a defensive and offensive player.

Not surprisingly, with such skills, she led her team to four straight state championships and was named National High School Player of the Year in 1997.

Tamika Catchings: College Career

Catchings attended the University of Tennessee, where she helped lead the Lady Volunteers to three straight NCAA Final Fours.

She was named National College Player of the Year in 2000 and 2001, and she left Tennessee as the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.

Tamika Catchings: WNBA Career

She played 15 seasons in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Catchings was drafted by the Indiana Fever in 2001 and played her entire career for the team, winning a championship with them in 2012.

She missed most of her rookie season due to a knee injury, but she came back strong in 2002 and was named Rookie of the Year. She went on to be a 10-time WNBA All-Star and was voted league MVP in 2011.

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In 2012, Catchings finally fulfilled her dream of winning a WNBA championship when the Fever defeated the Minnesota Lynx in the finals.

Catchings also represented the United States in international competitions, winning four Olympic gold medals with the team (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016).

She retired after the 2016 season as one of the most decorated players in league history, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

After her retirement, she served as the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Fever and has been a respected analyst and commentator for various media outlets.

Tamika Catchings: Her Husband Parnell Smith

Parnell smith is Tamika Catchings’ husband. They met through mutual friends in Indianna and married in 2016.

Parnell Smith is a retired professional basketball player. He played in the NBA for four seasons from 1999 to 2003.

Tamika Catching: Estimated Net Worth

Tamika Catchings has an estimated net worth of $3 million. She has her own apparel clothing line with Ballher, a women’s fitness apparel brand.

She earned most of her wealth from her 13-year career as a professional basketball player in the WNBA.

She also owns a tea shop in Indiana and wrote a best-seller Catch a Star: Shining through Adversity to Become a Champion.

She also served as the VP for Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Indianna Fever from 2017 until 2022.

Catchings also runs the Catch The Star Foundation that “empowers youth with Fitness, Literacy and Character Development Programs that encourage them to set goals dream bigger and achieve more”.

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