Lincoln’s Bosh, Duncanville’s Catchings and Baylor’s Mulkey shine spotlight on Texas
By Dorothy J. Gentry
Everything is big in Texas. Including Hall-of-Famers.
Tamika Catchings, former WNBA player, four-time Olympic gold medalist and Duncanville High School basketball star; Lincoln Humanities and Communications Magnet’s Chris Bosh and former Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey are all shining the national spotlight on Texas.
The three were named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Catchings and Mulkey – Class of 2020 – were inducted on Saturday, and Bosh, a member of the Class of 2021, will be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., later this year on Saturday, September 11.
Currently the vice president of basketball operations and general manager for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, Catchings played volleyball and basketball at Duncanville, leading the volleyball team to a state championship in 1995 and the basketball team to a state championship in the 1996-97 season.
She played her entire 15-year career with the Indiana Fever. Internationally celebrated, the 6’1” Forward was born in New Jersey and attended college at Tennessee. According to the WNBA, she is the leading scorer in WNBA All-Star Game history, and the only player to appear in 10 WNBA All-Star Games.
“Basketball chose me, an awkward, lanky, introverted tomboy, born with a hearing disability, a speech impediment, and a will to overcome obstacles, dream big and to change the world,” Catchings said on Saturday.
Three-time NCAA champion coach Mulkey – who stepped down last month as head women’s basketball coach at Baylor University after 20 years – said it was “an honor” to also be in the class of 2020. This honor, the pinnacle of individual honors, tops off a career featuring three NCAA national championships, a combined 21 Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles, achieving 600 career wins faster than any other D1 men’s or women’s coach.
Bosh, a two-time NBA champion and 11-time NBA All- Star, was a basketball standout at Lincoln when they captured the Class 4A state title as he delivered 23 points and 17 rebounds to go along with nine blocks. Bosh was subsequently named High School Player of the Year by Basketball America; Powerade Player of the Year in Texas; a first-team All -American by Parade, McDonald’s, and EA Sports; a second-team all-American by USA Today and SLAM Magazine; a first-team all-state player; and “Mr. Basketball” by his Lincoln classmates and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
He tells about his journey and offers words of wisdom in “Letters to a Young Athlete,” which goes on sale June 1, 2021.
Along with Catchings and Mulkey, also enshrined in the Hall of Fame on Saturday was the legendary Kobe Bryant. He was enshrined almost 17 months after he, his daughter Gigi and seven others died in a helicopter crash in January of 2020.
His widow, Vanessa – escorted by basketball great Michael Jordan – accepted the honor and gave a moving speech honoring her late husband and beloved basketball star and his accomplishments in 20 years as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
In acknowledging her beloved husband and “girl dad,” Bryant told the audience: “There will never be anyone like Kobe. He was one of a kind. He was special. He was humble — off the court — but bigger than life.”
Bryant was joined by basketball legends Tim Duncan – who won five championships with the San Antonio Spurs – and Kevin Garnett, who won a championship with the Boston Celtics –and six others, officially making up the Hall’s Class of 2020. Their enshrinement was delayed due to the pandemic.
Also enshrined in the Hall of Fame was two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich, three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton, 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens and longtime FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann.
The enshrinement also featured a performance from Grammy winner Ne-Yo who sang “Incredible” as a video montage played in the background in remembrance of Hall of Famers who died since the last enshrinement in 2019.
“I’ve always said that I wanted to be remembered as a player that didn’t waste a moment, didn’t waste a day, and lived every day as if he was the 12th guy on the bench,” Bryant said in the video.