Sugar Rodgers Is Rewriting Her Life Story Through the W.N.B.A.

Throughout “They Better Call Me Sugar,” you write about your mother wanting you to put golf first and basketball second, or not at all. As an adult looking back, do you have an understanding of why she held this view?

I just know golf was her thing, and maybe because back when she played basketball, there wasn’t opportunities for women. Because my mom was a basketball player, but way back in the day, it wasn’t opportunities like how it was for men. But now, looking at it, the W.N.B.A. is 25 years old. And just to be a part of that, it shows the W.N.B.A., can grow, the salaries can get there. It just takes one step at a time.

How did you begin writing about your childhood, and has writing been a source of healing for you?

When I was at Georgetown, I had a coach who suggested that I go to therapy and I’m just like, I’m not going to therapy. It’s for white people. But I was just ignorant to the fact because therapy, it’s taboo in the African American community.

I really didn’t like talking, and I went to therapy and I wouldn’t talk and I remember [the therapist] was like, “Well, just write it down.” And I would just write these stories and he would read them when I came in, because I didn’t like to talk. And, you know, I was like, man, these stories could become a book. It can help somebody in a situation that’s like mine or worse than mine.

Writing is therapeutic for me.

What do you feel like you bring that’s unique to coaching?

I just bring life experience in itself. There’s some things that you can’t teach that I just bring naturally. It’s some things that I can say to players because I’ve actually been through it.

You get a lot of coaches who players cannot relate to, and I think sometimes you need that balance on the coaching staff. But if you have players who cannot relate, those players don’t fit because they feel like nobody understands them. And I just feel like I bring a lot.

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