Stern, Catchings, Money inducted into Ladies’s Basketball Corridor

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — What David Stern did for the game of basketball transcended any gender bias and opened a complete new world for ladies within the recreation.

NBA commissioner from 1984-2014, Stern was the important thing determine within the formation and operation of the WNBA in 1997. That daring transfer paved the way in which for Stern, who died Jan. 1, 2020, to be inducted into the Ladies’s Basketball Corridor of Fame on Saturday evening.

Stern was joined within the induction class by former gamers Tamika Catchings, Swin Money, Lauren Jackson and Debbie Brock, together with contributors Carol Callan, Sue Donohoe and Carol Stiff.

“The WNBA was my father’s child,” mentioned Eric Stern, representing his father. “It was one thing he needed to combat for. He had to spend so much {of professional} capital, and even some private capital, to make it occur.

“There have been lots of doubters. He tended to get pleasure from battle and didn’t thoughts it in any respect. He did lots of civil rights work as he was rising up. He had a robust conviction towards fairness and equality.”

Catchings was a direct beneficiary of the work that Stern did. After being the faculty participant of the 12 months at Tennessee in 2000, she went on to have a 15-year profession within the WNBA with the Indiana Fever. She was the MVP of the Finals in 2012 when the Fever received the title.

Whereas her professional profession solidified Catchings’ spot within the Corridor of Fame, it was a journey that got here full circle.

“In the summertime of ’98, I used to be an intern on the Ladies’s Basketball Corridor of Fame,” she mentioned. “I made positive the flooring had been clear and the reveals had been dusted.

“I used to be ready to soak up ladies’s basketball historical past, and respect those that fought for ladies’s rights. The phrase `legacy’ is one I hope you keep in mind. I used to be a by-product of so many earlier than me.”

Catchings thought again to life as an eighth grader when, for some motive, she settled on a channel whereas watching tv.

“I noticed two steely blue eyes (belonging to Tennessee coach Pat Summitt) that had been so intense,” she mentioned. “It was the primary time I used to be watching ladies play basketball on TV in probably the most lovely shade of orange. It impressed me to be ok to play for Pat Head Summitt some day.”

Along with her success at Tennessee and with the Indiana Fever, Catchings was with U.S. Olympic groups that received 4 gold medals from 2004-16.

As USA Basketball’s Nationwide Group Director, Callan was instrumental in placing collectively gamers, coaches and directors that received gold medals within the final seven Olympics, the newest coming in Tokyo earlier this month.

“The very best motivation you’ll be able to have in life is to play with ardour and goal,” Callan mentioned. “There’s no larger goal than the pursuit of a gold medal.

“The best motivator is to have a compelling purpose. In USA Basketball, everybody comes via a range course of. It’s essential to let everybody turn out to be themselves. We’re all united via the game of basketball. Tradition-based teamwork will enable us to be our greatest, collectively and individually.”

Stern, Catchings, Money inducted into Ladies’s Basketball Corridor initially appeared on NBCSports.com

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