Former WNBA veteran Sugar Rodgers released her new book “They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood” through Akashic Books earlier this week. You can purchase it here.*
Rodgers played eight seasons in the WNBA, is a league champion, All-Star and the 2017 Sixth Woman of the Year. This week, the Las Vegas Aces also announced her hiring as assistant coach.
The Black Sportswoman interviewed Rodgers in January, when she’d just started her final semester of sports industry management in Georgetown’s graduate school and spent most of her additional time working out, promoting the book, playing video games and staying at home in Virginia. She’d mentioned earlier this year her goal to coach, men or women, as an assistant.
“I wanna be able to give back my knowledge to the younger generation that is coming up,” she said.
In They Better Call Me Sugar, Rodgers shares her road to the WNBA, including stories of her first basketball game, her time at Georgetown and in the WNBA, as well as difficult and traumatic experiences from her childhood and adolescence – including the deaths of many family members.
She dedicated her book to her mother who she lost at 14, writing “Mom, this book is for you! Your soul can rest in peace, knowing that I am at peace.”
Rodgers wrote the book for her younger self, but the book is perfect for young readers, starting in middle school, and also young athletes. Rodgers’ goal is to use her toughest moments to inspire those who read it. The last two chapters of her book are called “Dream Big” and “Self-Talk and Positivity.”
“You’re going to experience death, and I talk about a lot of death in my book, but how do I move forward? Even when I lost my mom, that was kind of the biggest heartbreak in my entire life, how was I still able to go forward and still survive and not get stuck in that moment?” Rodgers told The Black Sportswoman. “Because I was still out here, I had to learn how to survive and keep going forward. I used my mom’s death as motivation all my life. Like I’ve always used that as a tool to drive me to wanna do better, wanna be better, wanna see more, and actually wanna give more to the community, to people who are less fortunate.”
The idea for They Better Call Me Sugar started at Georgetown. Her coach encouraged her to go to counseling – which she said changed her life – and her therapist asked her to write.
“Writing has been therapeutic for me. It’s like seeing blood and tears on paper.”
Ultimately, Rodgers wanted to tell her story in her way.
“I’ve had incidents when people try to say my story, but they try to water it down, to where it doesn’t sound as harsh or as bad or as traumatic,” she said. “Obviously, I’m past that point and I can talk about it, but I just wanna give it to you straight forward. I don’t wanna water it down. I just wanna tell you what it is.”
*I shared a link from Bookshop, and I am a Bookshop affiliate. It doesn’t cost you more if you use this link to buy from Bookshop, but I do receive a commission if you buy the book through my link.
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