Tamika Catchings at Indiana Fever media day May 9. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Tamika Catchings didn't want a typical farewell tour around the WNBA in her final season.
Instead, she wanted to give back to the fans, community and league that has given her so much. So she is presenting $2,000 grants to local charities that promote fitness, literacy and mentoring in the 12 WNBA cities.
Catchings had her New York stop Friday night, signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans after her Indiana Fever suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history to the Liberty.
"I'm usually not this happy after losses," Catchings joked.
She donated $1,000 to both Tina Charles and Swin Cash's charities on Friday night.
“She’s been an ambassador for this league for so long and really has left her mark both on and off the court,” Charles said.
Catchings' goal is to raise $100,000 so her Catch the Stars charity can expand into each of the league's cities. She's turned the farewell tour into a family affair. Her mom manned the table where fans could buy raffle tickets for memorabilia and her husband helped make the long autograph line move along in an orderly fashion.
The centerpiece of the auction is the shoes she wears for the game that night. Fans had a chance to design special sneakers which Catchings chose 12 winners from.
She said that one of the sneakers is in honor of Lauren Hill, the Mount St. Joseph's women's basketball team who died of brain cancer last year.
"The shoe designs are really special to me," Catchings said. "The ones they came up with honor different parts of my career."
Catchings poses at the Team USA Media Summit in March in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovar