Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash were among other legends in the class of 2021 who were inducted in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
In addition to the two players, the following are members were enshrined in history: Debbie Brock (veteran player), Carol Callan (contributor), Sue Donohoe (contributor), Lauren Jackson (international player), David Stern (posthumously, contributor) and Carol Stiff (contributor).
"To the pioneers of the game," Cash said, "thank you for allowing a skinny tomboy like me to stand on your shoulders with pride and hope of a better tomorrow for our game."
The class also included former NBA commissioner Stern, who assisted in the formation of the WNBA in 1997. He passed away Jan. 1, 2020, and his son accepted the award on his behalf.
“The WNBA was my father’s baby,” said Eric Stern, per the AP. “It was something he had to fight for. He had to spend a lot of professional capital, and even some personal capital, to make it happen.
“There were a lot of doubters. He tended to enjoy conflict and didn’t mind it at all. He did a lot of civil rights work as he was growing up. He had a strong conviction toward equity and equality.”
For Catchings, the induction ceremony was a full-circle moment.
“In the summer of ’98, I was an intern at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” she said. “I made sure the floors were clean and the exhibits were dusted. I was able to take in women’s basketball history, and appreciate those who fought for women’s rights. The word ‘legacy’ is one I hope you remember. I was a by-product of so many before me.”
Catchings told stories about her playing days at Tennessee, describing in vivid memory the "two steely blue eyes" of the late Pat Summitt. She went on to spend her 15-year WNBA career with the Fever and was part of the U.S. Olympic team that won four gold medals from 2004-16.
Throughout her playing career, Cash, a four-time WNBA All-Star, powered her way to three WNBA championships, two WNBA All-Star MVP awards, two NCAA titles and two Olympic gold medals. And now, she serves as New Orleans’s current Vice President of Basketball Operations.
"And lastly, I'll say this—to whom much is given, much is required. A lot of us in here today have a lot so make sure we're giving back," Cash said. "Invest in women, invest in our game, invest in one another. God bless."
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