They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood

They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood

by Sugar Rodgers


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In unflinchingly honest prose, Sugar Rodgers shares her inspiring story of overcoming tremendous odds to become an all-star in the WNBA.

"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."
Ms. Magazine

"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."
Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617759291
Publisher: Akashic Books
Publication date: 05/04/2021
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 324,735
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 11 - 18 Years

About the Author

Sugar Rodgers is a professional basketball player and current Assistant Coach for the Las Vegas Aces. She honed her skills as a young girl growing up in Suffolk, VA, by shooting hoops with neighborhood drug dealers before eventually being recruited by the Georgetown Hoyas, making her the first person in her family to attend college. She graduated Georgetown as the leading scorer of all time, and was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx in 2013. She also played several seasons with the New York Liberty before being traded to Las Vegas in 2019. She was named to the WNBA All-Star team for her 2017 season with the New York Liberty.

Table of Contents

Introduction 11

Chapter 1 Williamstown 15

Chapter 2 Tomboy 25

Chapter 3 Second Grade 29

Chapter 4 Golf 35

Chapter 5 Tiger Woods and California 45

Chapter 6 My First Jail Visit 51

Chapter 7 Football 57

Chapter 8 Toe-to-Toe with a Drug Dealer 65

Chapter 9 My First Basketball Team 71

Chapter 10 City League Basketball 77

Chapter 11 The Bust 83

Chapter 12 The Tournament 93

Chapter 13 The Funeral 99

Chapter 14 DD Bug 103

Chapter 15 Life at Coach Betty's House 105

Chapter 16 Aunt Linda 113

Chapter 17 Boo Williams 119

Chapter 18 Getting Recruited 129

Chapter 19 Powder Puff 133

Chapter 20 Senior Prom 139

Chapter 21 Georgetown Hoyas 143

Chapter 22 Scooter 149

Chapter 23 Freshman Year 153

Chapter 24 Dad 159

Chapter 25 Senior Year 163

Chapter 26 Preparing for the Pros 167

Chapter 27 Draft Day 169

Chapter 28 Minnesota Lynx 175

Chapter 29 Living the Dream 179

Chapter 30 Dream Big 183

Chapter 31 Self-Talk and Positivity 185

Acknowledgments 191

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