Last night, at the inaugural Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards, sponsored by ESPN and PlayStation, Olympic Gold Medalist and WNBA All?Star Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever, became the first-ever individual athlete to be honored with the esteemed title. Along with this distinguished recognition of her humanitarian efforts, Tamika received a $75,000 grant for her Catch the Stars Foundation, a youth empowerment based non-profit she founded over a decade ago.

Knowing that the lack of support some girls and boys receive can cause many to never reach their full potential, Tamika launched Catch the Stars in 2004 with the goal of empowering kids throughout Indianapolis, especially those in under-served and low to moderate income communities, to achieve their dreams. Since, her foundation has been providing goal-oriented fitness, literacy and youth development programs that are designed to teach girls and boys how to embrace their differences, build self-esteem and overcome obstacles.

Of her Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award, Tamika said, “I am humbled and very appreciative of the ESPN family, along with all of the people who voted for my Catch the Stars Foundation and me.” She added, “Winning this award is way more valuable than the monetary donation that comes along with it – it’s about being able to continue to impact the lives of so many youth.”


Photo credit: IndyStar

Tamika, who has an undergraduate degree in Sports Management (2001) and a Masters in Sports Studies (2005), has served on the U.S. Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls through Sports and has supported countless community programs through her volunteer efforts and financial support.

And speaking of kids and dreams, the soon-to-be 36-year-old (Tamika’s birthday is July 21st) is living proof of the power of envisioning your own future. By 7th grade, so around age 12 or 13, the now nine-time WNBA All-Star and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist had already decided that she was going to play pro basketball. Today, boasting a remarkable career that places her among her sport’s elite, we’d say… mission accomplished!