Here’s the most important thing you need to know about the Indiana Fever:
When Tully Bevilaqua announced her retirement from the WNBA at the end of this season, the Fever held a pre-game ceremony for her before playing the San Antonio Silver Stars.
She plays for the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Bevilaqua has played in the WNBA since 1998, when she was an undrafted player for the Cleveland Rockers. She moved around from team to team — Portland Fire, Seattle Storm, Indiana Fever — but made her biggest impact with the Fever, becoming a much-loved player, making a significant impact on their way to the WNBA Finals, where they lost to the Phoenix Mercury in 2009.
In her 14 year career, Bevilaqua spent five seasons with the Fever, playing some top-notch basketball and being a key reason for their huge successes. (Believe me, I was disappointed when she was traded. She was replaced by fellow Aussie, Erin Phillips.) She plays tenacious defense, is water bug fast, and can go toe to toe with some of the biggest, toughest women in the WNBA without flinching.
But while most teams in most leagues will forget about most players — think the Minnesota Vikings will ever honor Brett Favre or the Cincinnati Reds will ever proudly hail Edinson Volquez? — the Indiana Fever honored Tully Bevilaqua and thanked and praised her for her years of hard work, dedication, and support for one of the best teams in the WNBA.
And then she promptly went out and beat the Fever, 72 – 88.
There’s one simple reason that my family and I are fans of the Fever: class. They have class. They don’t trash talk their opponents. They still congratulate each other after games (I’ve never seen that after a Major League Baseball game). And they praise and celebrate their former teammates, even after they’ve been gone for two years.
With class and sportstmanship like that, the Indiana Fever is one of the classiest organizations in Indiana, and one that more people need to take their children to see.