New Orleans -- In conjunction with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Tamika Catchings was back in New Orleans to host her second annual "Catch the Stars Clinic: #24Forever Legacy Tour" at Xavier University of Louisiana. The two hour free kids camp was a chance for 50 children to go through drills and learn the fundamentals of basketball from one of the best to ever play the game.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA superstar is long-time friends fellow WNBA alum Swin Cash, who the New Orleans Pelicans just hired as their Vice President of Basketball Operations/Team Development. Catchings has kept an eye on the moves the Pelicans have made this off-season, and weighed-in on the direction the franchise is headed.
"I think when you look at the Pelicans organization," Catchings said, "it's not just one person. They've basically just flipped the thing upside down. Tajan Langdon coming, Swin obviously the latest one and the one that I'm closest to. I think it'll be great. The breadth of knowledge that she has, people don't understand what she can bring. I think being able to understand from a player's standpoint-- both of them-- from a player's standpoint what it takes to be a professional but then from the front office side too, being able to see the business side. Swin and I have been really, really close since our Olympic days back in 2004 we've been rolling neck and neck and obviously going against each other too. I think that she'll be great for this organization. Her role here will be one-- even talking to some of the counselors that were here and talking about her-- they're excited about her being here and being apart of the team."
Catchings went-on to talk about the magnitude of having a woman in a front office position-- something she is a big advocate of.
"I am definitely excited about the opportunities that we've seen as of late with more women being engaged on the NBA side and just the corporate world in general," Catchings said. "I think the thing for me when you start looking at women getting hired in the professional world, people are like, 'Oh they're hiring women!' but it's the knowledge that comes with them. It's not just like check a box, we have a woman on staff. It's yes, we have a woman, we have a man, we have people that are qualified more than anything that have the experience that know how to win, that know how to put people in the right situations. The Cavs just hired two [women] so I think for me it's more like I don't want this to be a phase, like 'OK this right now is really important that every single team goes and finds a woman to be on staff.' I want it to be, 'You know what? This woman is qualified.' Swin is definitely qualified to be in the position that she's in. I know what she can do. I know what she's capable of helping our organization get to the next level. That's what we've got to keep building on. Becky Hammon should be a head coach in the NBA or a head coach anywhere. It doesn't even have to be the NBA-- NBA, WNBA, where ever she wants to be a head coach. She has the experience. [Popovich] has definitely put in a lot to make sure that she is prepared for whatever next step she has. Muffet McGraw gave a speech during the tournament just about women in positions and being able to have role models that you can look up to. I agree 100% in everything that she talks about but also as women, we have to take that step too and be willing to spread our wings and not get so caught-up in 'I don't know what this position entails. I don't know if I'll be good enough. I don't this, that.' You look at all the statistics and most men will take a job that they're totally not qualified, where as women, we want to be prepared, and we want this and we want that. So I'm excited just from the fact that I know that the people that are getting these roles are prepared for these roles and are definitely the best candidates."