A’ja Wilson Earns Inaugural PBWA Tamika Catchings Award

Jan. 18, 2024 – Two-time WNBA M’VP, two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and 2023 WNBA Finals M’VP A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces has been named the first ever winner of the PBWA’s Tamika Catchings Award, which honors the WNBA player who best combines excellence on the court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and public.

One of the league’s biggest stars, Wilson has never let her high profile interfere with a consistent and in-depth effort to work with the media, helping us tell not only her story, but the stories of the championship team she leads. Her willingness to speak on big-picture issues has also given those who follow the league a sense of where women’s basketball is going.

“I am so honored to receive the PBWA Tamika Catchings Award,” Wilson said. “To be associated with Catch’s legacy, someone whose basketball prowess is unmatched, who is also so deeply rooted in her community, is truly humbling, and I will cherish being the first ever to receive the award.”

The other nominees for the award were Breanna Stewart of the New York Liberty, Sydney Colson of the Las Vegas Aces, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough of the Washington Mystics and Aliyah Boston of the Indiana Fever. The nominations and final vote were conducted by members of the PBWA’s WNBA chapter, created in 2021 and chaired by Howard Megdal.

“I am delighted to present the first in an annual tradition, awards to recognize those individuals who do the most to help us all foster our shared goals of increasing coverage of professional women’s basketball each season,” Megdal said. “The PBWA has long done this for the men’s game, and this member-voted award is an important moment of equality for us in women’s professional basketball media.”

The PBWA this week announced the creation of three awards to honor WNBA figures who go above and beyond to work with the media who cover the league. We are proud to present these awards, each named after trailblazers who helped light the way for the work we do today:

The Val Ackerman Award goes to the best team (or in special circumstances, league) public-relations professional, and is named after the first president of the WNBA and current head of the Big East Conference, Val Ackerman, who possesses a keen understanding of the importance of media and has worked hard to
empower us to do our best work.

The Tamika Catchings Award goes to the player who best fosters a spirit of cooperation with the media, and is named after the Indiana Fever star, who never said no to a chance to promote the league.

The Anne Donovan Award goes to the coach (or in special circumstances, executive) who is most available and helpful to the media, and is named after the late Anne Donovan, an icon of the sport as a player, head coach and executive.

Ryan Stevens, the director of public relations for the Indiana Fever, was named the winner of the Ackerman Award on Wednesday. The Donovan Award winner will be announced on January 19.

The awards are modeled after similar honors that the PBWA bestows annually on the NBA side, to the player (Magic Johnson Award), coach (Rudy Tomjanovich Award) and PR staff (Brian McIntyre Award) who consistently go above and beyond to work with the media and the public.

“We are grateful to all who help us shine a light on the incredible stories happening every day in women’s basketball,” Megdal said. “Documenting this period of time is not only vital to the growth of the game today, but will provide a historical record about the current trailblazing figures that will form the foundation for telling that history for generations to come.”

The PBWA, formed in 1973, is composed of more than 200 professional writers and editors who cover the NBA and WNBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines.