Former Fever star Catchings squashes NBA general manager speculation

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Tamika Catchings arguably is among Indianapolis’ biggest sports stars.

The former WNBA standout’s career included 10 All-Star selections, one WNBA championship, one league MVP and four Olympic gold medals.

And in April 2017 she took her basketball knowledge to the front office when she was hired as director of player programs and franchise development for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

So it makes sense that she's showing up on the radar of those waiting for the NBA to name its first woman general manager. But Catchings, who once said such a job was a dream of hers, tells The Score she's no longer interested.

“That was something I said a long time ago, but I enjoy what I’m doing right now—running Tea’s Me Cafe, continuing my ventures with Catch the Stars Foundation and working with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, among many other things,” she said in an email. “When I entered the WNBA, my goal was to be a GM, but the past five years or so, my dreams have shifted a bit. I appreciate the sentiment of others, but being a GM is not in my interest right now.”

Catchings in March 2017 bought Tea's Me Cafe, 140 E. 22nd St., on the near-north side.

At PS&E, her job involves working with basketball operations and community outreach for all three of the company's teams: Pacers, Fever and the G-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

The NBA has never had a woman hold general manager or president of basketball operations positions. But Albert Lee of national sports website SBNation wrote earlier this month that Catchings would be the logical choice to break down the barrier.

“Statistics and athletic ability are just part of what makes a basketball player great,” wrote Lee. “Because of her prior role as an on-court star in the WNBA, Catchings has the ability to evaluate a player’s work ethic and ability to take criticism when needed. These are things that general managers need to determine as well.”

Lee can be forgiven for thinking Catchings would be interested in such a job based on her LinkedIn page, which hasn't been updated to reflect her current state of mind. On LinkedIn, Catchings says: “As for the next step for me after basketball, I hope to one day be a General Manager in the WNBA or NBA. It is something that I have dreamed about since college. Throughout my career, I have constantly been observing and studying different GM's so that when my chance comes I can be successful.”

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