Basketball Envoys Tamika Catchings, Ebony Hoffman in Thailand

By Lola Alapo (University of Tennessee) March 28, 2014

While the women’s NCAA tournament was in full swing this past week, WNBA stars Tamika Catchings and Ebony Hoffman were bringing the game of basketball to more than 100 female athletes in Thailand.

As part of the State Department’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, the players led clinics and drills, and there was even a little trash talking.

“[Earlier this week] we had a shooting contest. My end was really energetic, really excited about it, so of course we won,” Catchings said via the State Department. “No, no, I don’t want to go there [laughs].”

“Tamika’s team won, yes, I will admit that,” Hoffman said. “But the girls had fun. They had big smiles on their faces, so I can’t complain.”

The main goal of the trip and overall initiative: increase the number of women and girls who participate in sports worldwide.

“For a lot of these kids, they really don’t have a lot of opportunities to kind of get out and experience camps,” Catchings said. “So for us to be able to bring our clinic here and for these girls to be a part of it, I mean, you can see the smiles on these girls’ faces and you could tell that they were having a good time.

“I’ve talked about this all week long, just about basketball being a universal language. At first, they were looking at us like ‘OK, who are these girls? Who are these ladies out here?’ But as time wore on, you could tell they warmed up to us and that they had a really good time today.”

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