WNBA and Olympic basketball champion Tamika Catchings is in India this week, and she was present to tip off the Mumbai city championship of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Programme at the Dominic Savio School in Andheri East on Wednesday, January 28th. The city championship marked the culmination of an eight-week program that took place in 185 schools across the city, including 100 MCGM schools.
More Than 940,000 youth from 1,000 schools have participated in the RF Jr. NBA programme since it was launched in 2013. NBA and Reliance Foundation have distributed 15,000 basketballs and 300 hoops to schools in India over the last few years.
Catchings (35) has enjoyed a highly successful basketball career. Drafted third by the Fever in 2001, the forward has spent her entire WNBA career with Indiana, leading the team to their first championship in 2012. Catchings is a five-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, nine-time All Star, the 2012 Finals MVP, and won Rookie of the Year in 2002. At the international stage, she has played an important role for USA, winning the women's basketball Olympics gold medal the last three times (2004, 2008, and 2012) and the women's world championship gold medal twice. Catchings has also played for clubs in Russia, Poland, and Turkey.
In the RF Jr. NBA programme, youth players across Mumbai have learned the game through in-school sessions, clinics, and competitions. The city championship included a 5x5 team competition featuring the top eight boys and girls teams from across the city; a 3x3 team competition featuring more than 450 teams; and the Finals of the Hot Shot individual shooting competition, which saw one boy and one girl crowned the best shooters in the city.
Catchings is now headed to Chennai to host the inauguration of the RF Jr. NBA Championship in that city.