Kobe Bryant isn’t basketball’s only legendary number 24 that we’re saying goodbye to this year, forever in a fond farewell.
Another Nike flagship athlete is just doing it for the last time this campaign as their black and white full page spread attests to in tribute.
This weekend the legendary Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever played her last regular season game in the WNBA she’s dominated for almost as long as its two decade, twenty year run.
But she isn’t ready to pass the torch to the new superstar likes of Skylar Diggins just yet, as her Indy team clipped the Dallas Wings 83-60 sick to secure Indiana’s fifth placed seed out East for the 2016 Playoffs. Tamika made 16 points, to go along with 7 off the glass, two gimmies and a here you go. Upsetting the former Tulsa Shock in their first season taking wing in Dallas, Texas.
Like her jersey sponser the finish line is in sight, but like the baseline she’s not ready to cross it just yet.
Let her still play.
And boy is she balling as Pacer and Team USA brother Paul George caught Catchings last “regular” game for Indiana following their time in Brazil together for the dual gold 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
A dominant Olympia that saw Tamika team up with another retiring great, New York Liberty’s Swin Cash about to make her WNBA withdrawal for her fourth gold. You can bank on more of the womens national basketball team not seeing Tokyo as the legendary likes of Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will probably call it a day before the next Olympics in Japan in four years time.
What used to be Los Angeles Spark, Lisa Leslie’s league (and is now Candace Parker’s) has delivered on the great expectations as we have watched so many greats work. And after this twenty sixteen Springfield inductee Sheryl Swoopes, you can be sure Tamika Catching’s will enter the Hall of Fame as soon as she is eligible.
This great womens game is saying goodbye to the best of its best as former Spark and Atlanta Dream star DeLisha Milton-Jones has just penned an open letter to retirement too. Still, although Catch-24 just bid farewell to her Bankers Life Fieldhouse faithful, save the tears Hoosiers, because it aint over yet.
Hoping to catch playoff Fever for Indy like scarlett, Catchings is still a final letter away from her postseason curtain call. The 37 year old Tamika looks to rise against the Mercury of Phoenix against another flame throwing great whose long, legendary career isn’t ready to be put out yet…
It has the makings of epic. Expect it. With everything and all they’ve accomplished to play for.
Catch it while you can.
Sister Act. Ogwumike Siblings Spark Hollywood Reunion In Los Angeles
It’s a family affair in Hollywood.
‘Mike check, 1…2, 1…2. Chiney Ogwumike has gone from the Connecticut Sun to a Californian one to reunite with Stanford sister Nneka.
And in an instant the Candace Parker Sparks have plugged themselves in to this year’s favourite to be the HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER, ‘Captain Marvel’ of the WNBA.
The Sparks are now illuminated by this former scorching Sun star, her former MVP sister, Candace, Point Goddess Chelsea Gray and hot clutch shooter Alana Beard. And that’s just for starters, before we get to the splinters that will stick in you from the bolstered bench. Or their seventh seal in this year’s draft, the Baylor made star Kalani Brown.
Looks like Laker legend and new coach Derek Fisher-no stranger to the closing seconds of the game himself-has a lot to light up from his sideline fuse.
The Sparks gave up a first round draft pick from next year’s 2020 lottery to get this former number one pick in the 2014 pick of players and it was well worth every spot. Chiney is a star in her prime now, whilst her sister Nneka is a veteran legend. Combine the two of them together on the same squad like their Stanford college alumni days and you have a one, two punch like the Sparks had in the legendary Lisa Leslie days alongside Candace Parker. Except the Los Angeles Sparks still have Parker. One of the best players in the league right now and for all time, giving them an even better big-three and superteam then they’ve ever had in their purple and gold coronation.
This is beautiful for a game that is all about family. From the Grant one to the Lopez twin peaks. Even sons inheriting the skills of their father from Gary Payton II to Tim Hardaway Jnr. To what’s to come from Bol Bol, Shareef O’Neal (let’s make this special and get him drafted to pops Lake Show) and Bronny.
Oh yeah and the Ball boys.
But nothing is quite as special as these sisters doing it for themselves and each other on the Lakers sister squad that now stands as its own in STAPLES like the California clashing Clippers.
After becoming Rookie of the Year, Chiney suffered through knee and Achilles injuries whilst playing in China which stunted her seasons. But in the last one this low post threat, bullied back in the paint with a 14 point average and half of that in rebounds with seven. Expect those stats that would be the perfect compliment to Candace and big sis to only improve anyway. As will the perimeter presence of the likes of All Star point Gray and Beard trimming down those shots from downtown Pico.
Peek at your 2019 WNBA champions. Because the best of the best Skylar Diggings-Smith and Breanna Stewart will join the legendary likes of Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore missing the majority if not in most cases all the forthcoming season. Which is such a shame, even if there is so much more talent on display in this expect great league. But with Storm’s weathered in Seattle and Dallas Wings clipped, these Sparks with the Fish that saved L.A. in charge are showing like in the Michael Cooper days they are more than just a legendary name plugged into their head coaching seat.
The stand for one of the best leagues in the greatest game and it’s next generation starts now.
Watch them make way and lead the charge in their game, their way.
And worthy of a Hollywood story, but a real household one, these sisters are each other keepers.
Canada’s Bridget Carleton selected 21st overall WNBA Draft
“Number 21 — went number 21, maybe there is a little karma there.”
Canadian Bridget Carleton (Chatham, Ont.) was selected 21st overall (2nd round,9th pick) by the Connecticut Sun at the 2019 WNBA Draft.
Carleton concluded arguably the best season by a Canadian woman at the NCAA division one level — culminating a spectacular career as the best small forward in the country earning the recipient of the 2019 Cheryl Miller award and Big 12 player of the year award — a first for a Cyclones player and a Canadian.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be drafted by the Connecticut Sun,” Carleton said. ” They have a great franchise and an amazing coaching staff. I can’t wait to get there, soak it all in and work as hard as I can. I am looking forward to starting this chapter of my basketball career.” —
In four years with Cyclones the 6’1″ guard racked-up almost every accolade possible, including consecutive unanimous all-Big 12
Consistent throughout her NCAA collegiate career, Carleton averaged a career-best 21.4 points per game, alongside 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks while improving her already impressive shooting numbers to 46.3% from field, 37% from three-pointers and 85.4 the foul-line.
Starting in 121 out of a possible 124 games for Iowa State, Carleton came-up eight-points shy of the school’s all-time scoring mark with 2142 points — failing to score under 19 points in a game just once in the
If it all goes according to plan, Iowa State could become the first NCAA school to have multiple Canadians selected in the WNBA and NBA drafts’ in the same year.
Both Marial Shayok (Ottawa) and Lindell Wigginton (Nova Scotia) who played crucial in the Cyclones men’s basketball program also declared in for the 2019 NBA Draft and strong cases for being selected in second-round.
Carleton’s selection marks the fifth straight year a Canadian has been drafted into the world’s best professional basketball league. Kia Nurke (2018) Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (2017), Adut Bulgak (2016), Ruth Hamblin (2016), Nirra Fields (2016), Natalie Anchonwa (2015)
Lastly, she is the first Canadian to be drafted out of the Big 12 since Canada’s highest WNBA pick — Stacey Dales out of the Oklahoma Sooners went third overall to the Washington Mystics back in 2002.