Indiana’s veteran center Tammy Sutton-Brown is in her 12th season in the WNBA and her sixth with the Fever. Among the league’s all-time leaders in rebounds and blocks, Sutton-Brown is known for her talent on and off the court. The new author launched her first children’s book last summer at The Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Sutton-Brown is back in action after an early season ankle injury and was able to sit down with FeverBasketball.com’s Becca Bornhorst to discuss her goals on and off the floor.
FeverBasketball.com: This is your 12th WNBA season. You have played in the WNBA Finals twice, but have yet to win a title. How important is it to you to win a championship this season?
Tammy Sutton-Brown: “Incredibly, incredibly important and high on the list. I think if you would ask any single WNBA player what they play for it would be for a title or championship. Yes, I have come close, but close doesn’t really cut it. I definitely want that ring.”
FB: It is still very early in the season, but what does this team have to do to secure a championship this year?
TSB: “We just need to consistently stay together. The season is long and you go through ups and downs and peaks and valleys. On the highs, we can’t get too high; and on the lows, we can’t get too low. Even though we’ve been playing well, there is still a lot that we are working on, and that we need to constantly work on in practice everyday to get better. This is a tough league. There is not one team that just stands out above everybody. Anyone can win on any given night. As long as we stay together both on and off the court, I think we’ll be great.”
FB: As a veteran in this league and with the Fever, you have already achieved so much in your career. Is there anything specific you would like to accomplish this season?
TSB: “Honestly, I’m in the mindset of doing whatever this team needs to bring home that championship. That might be encouraging the girls every single daystaying on Sasha [Goodlett] and Dav [Jessica Davenport] and the other post players. Whatever it takes. You can’t win with one or two playerswe’re going to need all 11 of us to be successful.”
FB: You sprained your ankle and had to sit out the home opener against Atlanta. It’s no secret that the older someone gets the longer it takes to fully recover from an injury. How do you think this minor setback has affected you?
TSB: “I’ve sprained my ankle before, but it’s never been a high ankle sprain and they’re a lot different than regular sprains. I’ve still been a little tender but I’ve been playing on it, and once I tape it up and get going it actually feels good. Once I get out on the court, I really try not to focus on it. The positive thing is that it happened at the beginning of season and not the end. I try to look at things positively and luckily I only had to miss one game.”
FB: This past August you published a children’s book titled “Cree and Scooter Hit the Slopes in British Columbia.” What inspired you to start writing this series?
TSB: “I was inspired by my travelsplaying overseas and playing in different countries. I’m very fascinated with different cultures and different people, foods, places and landmarks. I wanted to write something for younger kids, but I wanted to make it a fun and engaging story where they are learning and being educated without realizing it.”
FB: How long did it actually take you to write and publish your book from beginning to end?
TSB: “It took me about two solid years from the initial thought process, to actually writing, to finding an illustrator, to getting it done and put together. It was long and challenging. Writing books is totally different than playing basketball, so it was definitely a different challenge but I enjoyed doing it and it was a lot of fun.”
FB: What will the next book in the series feature and when can we expect to see it in bookstores?
TSB: “In the next book, the two characters climb the Great Wall of China. As far as the book coming out and being in stores, I’m looking at sometime later this yearNovember, or right before Christmas.”
FB: Now that you are officially an author, what is your favorite part about it?
TSB: “It’s nice being able to let my creative juices go to paper. Especially writing a children’s book, I can kind of go anywhere with it, open up my imagination, and just be creative with my ideas. That’s something I get excited about because I’m inspired by creative thoughts. Also, seeing my story come to life and knowing what I went through for almost two years, and then seeing the final product is pretty awesome.”
FB: Whenever you decide to step out of your basketball shoes for the last time is there anything specific you hope to do in the next chapter of your life?
TSB: “I’ve always said from day one that I want to do something with kids. Even writing books is for kids. I think I’ll probably expand on it. Whether it’s writing books and adding more stuff to the characters I’ve created, I’m very big on early education and early literacy. I think reading is very important and unfortunately there are a lot of kids who aren’t necessarily exposed to books at an early age. So I think I’ll do something along those lines, but I can’t put my hand on anything specific yet.”