Tamika Catchings plans to retire following 2016 season

Indiana Fever Tamika Catchings plans to retire following the conclusion of the 2016 season, the 13-year pro announced on Friday.

Tamika Catchings will call it quits following the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I will be retiring in 2016, Lord willing, if my body holds up,” Catchings said.

“Although I plan to step away as a player, that is not to say I’ll step away from the game, hopefully. I am so thankful and blessed to have had an opportunity to play the game I have loved for so long. God has truly blessed me with an amazing playing career, and now it’s time to start transitioning to what He has for me beyond the lines of the basketball floor.”

This wasn’t Catchings’ original plan, although when you’re playing such a contact sport, it’s hard to determine when you’ll be done or need to get out.

Catchings, 35, already has three Gold Medals. She previously thought the 2012 London Olympics would be her last International participation.

“And then after we won,” Catchings explained, “Diana [Taurasi] was like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming back for one more.’

“I was like, ‘Ohhh. We are? Ok.”

For a couple years now, the sure-thing Hall of Famer no longer plays overseas in the offseason. That literally had her playing year-round, and caused wear and tear.

But that doesn’t mean she takes it easy. Her offseason training regimen would put others’ season conditioning to shame.

The news, which many internally didn’t expect to be announced, is without a doubt pleasing to both the organization and its fans.

“I know Tamika is relieved to get this announcement out,” said Fever President and GM Kelly Krauskopf. “She has talked informally about wanting to play through the 2016 season as she continues to look at what is next in her extraordinary basketball career. I am proud that she will have played her entire career in an Indiana Fever uniform. Anyone who has not seen her play in person should do so in the next 24 months. She is a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest overall players in the history of the women’s game. Her impact on and off the court is immeasurable.”

Catchings loves it in Indy and gives back on her own in so many different ways. For her, she’ll be one of a few professional athletes to play his or her entire professional career for one team. She’s been with the Fever since 2001, when they drafted her third overall.

Once her playing days are behind her, look for her to get into management while continuing to devote herself to helping others.

They don’t make ’em any better than Tamika Catchings.

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