They Better Call Me Sugar
By: Sugar Rodgers - Black Sheep / Akashic Books, $14.15
Description: In unflinchingly honest prose, Sugar Rodgers shares her inspiring story of overcoming tremendous odds to become an all-star in the WNBA.
Verdict: Part of Akashic Books Black Sheep imprint for young readers, They Better Call Me Sugar tells the story of how growing up in dire poverty in Suffolk, Virginia, Sugar (born TaShauna) 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 was not 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, Sugars 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.
Sugars road to a successful career as a professional basketball player is fraught with sadness and death — including her mothers death when she was just 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, if you will pardon the pun, her life experiences, she delivers a powerful message of discipline, perseverance, and always believing in oneself.
In all truth, I am not a fan of any form of basketball, but reading this heartwarming, gut-wrenchingly honest book most assuredly has got me wondering just what I have been missing on the hard court!
In what is a most enthusiastic memoir, and one told by the author with an unflinching directness, Rodgers obvious goal in writing this book was to share her story with others, hopefully inspiring them to always keep pushing forward.
Indeed, in the books she herself says that ... most people give back by donating money. I give back by talking to teenagers and adults in schools and communities, giving them guidance on how to stay on the right track.
Through sharing my stories of struggle, I hope others can relate to me and learn something. I want to open their eyes to a bigger picture so they can stop settling for less.
Inspirational not only for young girls, not only for young athletes, but for everyone, They Better Call Me Sugar is way much more than a slam dunk - it is a quite wondrous, buzzer-beating three-pointer from downtown for the win!
Sugar Rodgers Rodgers is a professional basketball player. Last year she made it to the WNBA finals with 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.
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