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Former WNBA player gives speech at IU MLK Leadership Breakfast



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Indiana forward Tamika Catchings loses the ball in the lane in front of Phoenix center Tangela Smith, left, during game four of the WNBA Finals on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Former WNBA star Tamika Catchings said she was a young girl when she first had a dream.

Catchings said she remembers running down the steps with a piece of paper inscribed with her life goal: to be in the NBA. She showed her family, and they enthusiastically supported her. She said she remembered taping that piece of paper to her mirror and looking at it every day.

The former Indiana Fever forward spoke about her hearing loss and reflected on her career at the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Breakfast on Monday in Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union. The breakfast had about 250 attendees.

At the breakfast, Building Bridges Awards were awarded to students, faculty and staff who embody King’s values through philanthropic projects.

Catchings talked about legacies and the decisions of champions. Catchings said everyone is part of King’s legacy.

In her senior year of college, Catchings tore her ACL on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She said she remembered being crowded around by her teammates and then left alone.

“In that moment, I made a decision,” Catchings said. “This will not be the end.”

Catchings said she got a few teeth knocked out, tore multiple muscles and broke a few fingers during her long career. She said none of that matters. She said she has never given up, and never will.

“I will never give up fighting,” Catchings said.

One of the most important qualities of champions is using your goals to help others, Catchings said. She said all visions should be founded in compassion for those around you.

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