They Better Call Me Sugar
My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood
In unflinchingly honest prose, Sugar Rodgers shares her inspiring story of overcoming tremendous odds to become an all-star in the WNBA.
One of the American Library Association's Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2022)
"WNBA All-Star Sugar Rodgers doesn't hold back in her memoir."
--New York Amsterdam News
"They Better Call Me Sugar is fabulous--so infinitely readable and engaging. Sugar Rodgers is such a clear-eyed and thoughtful writer and a huge inspiration. There are so many young people I can't wait to give this book to."
--Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming, former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
"If it is one thing many of us have been doing a lot lately is spending more time curling up with favorite books of ours. Our book games have been strong lately and that is always a positive. Here is a very athletic way to heighten that need for read--add a dash of Sugar to your bookshelves."
--Beyond the W
"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 Black Sportswoman
"In her inspiring and candid debut memoir, WNBA star Sugar Rodgers opens up about her challenging youth and her path to college, a successful career and a fulfilling, empowered life."
"Rodgers' memoir...personally details a young girl growing up in dire poverty in Suffolk, Va., who lost her mother when she was a teenager, saw both of her siblings go in and out of prison, and witnessed shootings in her neighborhood. Yet she kept on striving."
"Describing her upbringing under less-than-ideal conditions in Suffolk, Sugar's book] has gotten some quality reviews."
"An inherently compelling memoir...A simply fascinating and ultimately inspiring story."
--Midwest Book Review
Growing up in dire poverty in Suffolk, Virginia, Sugar (born Ta'Shauna) Rodgers never imagined that she would become an all-star player in the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association). Both of her siblings were in and out of prison throughout much of her childhood and shootings in her neighborhood were commonplace. For Sugar this was just a fact of life.
While academics wasn't a high priority for Sugar and many of her friends, athletics always played a prominent role. She mastered her three-point shot on a net her brother put up just outside their home, eventually becoming so good that she could hustle local drug dealers out of money in one-on-one contests.
With the love and support of her family and friends, Sugar's performance on her high school basketball team led to her recruitment by the Georgetown Hoyas, and her eventual draft into the WNBA in 2013 by the Minnesota Lynx (who won the WNBA Finals in Sugar's first year). The first of her family to attend college, Sugar speaks of her struggles both academically and as an athlete with raw honesty.
Sugar's road to a successful career as a professional basketball player is fraught with sadness and death--including her mother's death when she's fourteen, which leaves Sugar essentially homeless. Throughout it all, Sugar clings to basketball as a way to keep herself focused and sane.
And now Sugar shares her story as a message of hope and inspiration for young girls and boys everywhere, but especially those growing up in economically challenging conditions. Never sugarcoating her life experiences, she delivers a powerful message of discipline, perseverance, and always believing in oneself.
Black Sheep, 9781617759291, 176pp.
Publication Date: May 4, 2021