Published on April 27th, 2018 | by Landon Buford0
WNBA Community Reacts to Tina Thompson and Katie Smith Being Selected To The Basketball Hall of Fame
On September 7th, 2018, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will induct two former Seattle Storm players as a shooting guard and a power forward. Katie Smith, on the other hand, was a shooting guard from 2011-2012, that help led the team to back to back playoff appearances. Tina Thompson played from 2012- 2013, as the starting power forward led the Storm to the WNBA playoffs.
They are arguably two of the greatest women basketball players of all-time and are being acknowledged as such with both being selected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2018, on September 7, in Springfield, MA. Other of members from this year’s class, will include Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, and Maurice Cheeks.
Upon finishing up her career future Hall of Fame Tina Thompson would end up being the leading scorer with (7,488points) in WNBA history to go along with four WNBA Champions with the Houston Comets when she retired in 2013. She is currently the second in scoring behind Diana Taurasi (7,867 points). In addition, she won two gold medals with Team USA in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2008 Olympics in Beijing to go along with nine all-star selections.
“She was just a smart competitor, and she always gave everything she had out there on the floor. She could shoot from anywhere and she was difficult to guard, especially with her length. I was able to learn from the leadership that she always brought to the team along with her relentless and never giving up. I would find myself admiring the way she carried herself on the court, her intelligence for the game of basketball, and she was like a big sister to me. Says Lauren Jackson she would continue by describing the first time she met Tina as a member of the Australian National team.
“I remember when I was 13 or 14 I played against Tina as apart of the Australian National team and she was a part of the USA B team in Taiwan. I met Tina on that trip, and she was very nice to me. What was not my experience with other members of the American team as a young star.”
“Tina has to be in top two players that I have competed against. She was very meticulous about her craft and working on her game. You knew when you went against her that you could not make many mistakes because she would make you pay for it.” She was someone that I learned from as I came up through the ranks because she was very outspoken, but when she did, people listen. The people around her knew that Tina knew what she was talking about. Tina is straight to the point type of leader where others might be screamers, and you must respect that. As a player coming especially with the USA, B team took me under her wing, and we formed a relationship/sisterhood because I like interests, her mindset, and the way she approached the game of basketball.” – Swin Cash
“While playing with Tina, I saw how much confidence she had, and how that confidence never wavered. This sounds so simple, but as an athlete, it’s a quality not many have. So, I really learned what that looked like. What it felt like. And what it meant to carry yourself with confidence and play with it. Simultaneously, she was such a great teammate. Would look you in your eye and say the tough things when needed but would also be the first person to applaud you when you did something great. I think confidence plays a role in her ability to do that as well.” – Sue Bird
In May of 2015, Tina would join Karen Aston’s staff at the University of Texas as an Assistant Coach and in 2017 was promoted to the Assistant Head Coach this past season. She recently accepted the head coach position with the University of Virginia.
“I always knew that she had the great qualities of being an amazing coach because she was always teaching younger players. I thought she would pursue coaching, law school, or something in the fashion industry, but Tina was outspoken about not wanting to become a coach it was not something she wanted to do. A lot of time we do not want to do certain things, but when you are gifted, and God takes you in that direction that kind of what happens. I once never heard that she wanted to be a coach during our time playing as teammates, friends, etc.” says Swin Cash she would continue by sharing her thoughts on Katie Smith being selected for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
“It’s unbelievable, there will be tears of joy, and expect to be there to support her definitely. When I retired from the WNBA, she was in attendance and spoke at my retirement ceremony. It allowed me to enjoy the love and friendship that have for a very long time. Like I said I plan to be there for her because it is well deserved for her to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It a tribute not only to her career as a player but as a pioneer in our game.”- Swin Cash
Katie Smith is one of the greatest scorers that the WNBA has ever seen and the only player to win, a championship in both the WNBA and the American Basketball League. She was also a member of Team USA winning three gold medals in Sydney, Athens, and Beijing.
“Katie’s accomplishments with Team USA basketball and in the WNBA speak for themselves. She deserves to be inducted into the hall of fame. Just like other the great athletes that came from that period and Katie pave her way into the history books.” – Lauren Jackson
“For me, it’s surreal to be listed amongst those names. I don’t see myself that way, but I know I’m extremely fortunate to have played with, and against some of the all-time greats. Two of them being Tina & Katie” Bird said, she would continue with her thoughts on both Tina and Katie making the Hall of Fame “It’s a no-brainer in my opinion. The list of accolades speaks for speaks for both of them. Not many have been this decorated, have won this much and been the main player on those teams.”
“Few players can claim the success Katie and Tina had in their respective careers. Tina and Katie came into the league with the highest of expectations and always rose to the occasion. Tina was a dominant force on the court with the accolades to match: four-time WNBA champion, nine-time All-Star and second in WNBA history for total points. As for Katie, she reached the highest levels of the sport as a two-time WNBA champion and seven-time All-Star. Says WNBA President Lisa Borders
In addition to their outstanding careers on the court, Tina and Katie continue to make tremendous contributions to the game and the next generation of players through coaching. So, I want to congratulate Tina & Katie on an accomplishment only a few iconic people are able to experience. They are both the first-ballot Hall of farmers in my book.”
“I think it was a super honor and if you look at both Katie and Tina how their careers in the WNBA but playing professional games before that regarding Katie. I think to be a first ballot hall farmer says a lot, not only about your career but the respect from the public for what you have done throughout your career. So, it is going to be amazing to sit there and watch her & Tina be inducted. Also, I think they have represented women basketball at the highest level and it very good for women’s basketball.” – Swin Cash