Queen of the Court: Tamika Catchings
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Queen of the Court: Tamika Catchings

Women's professional basketball was a mere dream when Tamika Catchings, 30, was growing up. But pursuing her passion has paid off for this two-time Olympic champion and star of the Indiana Fever. Now she's ready to inspire others.
Natural Selection

"As a kid, I was teased because I had a speech impediment, glasses, and hearing aids (I was born with moderate hearing loss). But on the basketball court, I ruled. Women's b-ball finally went pro when I was a freshman in college. Three years later I was drafted by the Indiana Fever."

The Big Picture

"During my first season, I was sidelined by a torn ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] and couldn't play a single game. It taught me a valuable lesson: Don't let basketball be the only thing that defines who I am. Mentoring kids is my other passion."

Head Start

"In 2004, I launched the Catch the Stars Foundation, a nonprofit that provides at-risk kids with sports and academic programs so they can reach their fullest potential. There were people in my life who brought out the best in me, like Pat Summitt, my coach at the University of Tennessee, and my father, who played pro basketball. I want to help the next generation."

Positive Energy

"After playing professionally for nine years, I still get pregame butterflies. I wonder, What if I miss the shot? I take a deep breath and remind myself that I'm here to have fun with my teammates, do my best, and put on a good show for the fans. Feeling nervous just means I'm hungry to win."

Off-Court Moves

"I love mixing up my workouts. One day I'll swim; the next I'll take a Spinning class or a martial arts cardio class called Buda Khi, in which we do punches, kicks, squats, and core work. In my business, you've got to be aggressive."

Fitness Is...

"...in my DNA. I'm too competitive to ride the bench."

Five Things to Know About Me

  1. Nickname: Mik or Catch
  2. Jersey number: 24. My dad, Harvey Catchings, wore 42. How cool is that?
  3. Guilty pleasure: Crispy Strips with sweet and spicy sauce from KFC. Hits the spot.
  4. If I were a mascot, I'd be: A tiger, because it's pretty -- and ferocious.
  5. Lucky charm: My knee pads. I've worn them the past nine years.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010.