Allisha Gray is dedicated to uplifting the next generation. On March 30, the Atlanta Dream guard will read I Don’t Care, You’re Still a Bear to 40 kids in Dallas during the “Read to the Final Four” initiative. The children’s book, written by Gray’s boyfriend, Tim Mangum, covers the concepts of racism.
Recently, Gray and Mangum spoke to rolling out about the book and Gray’s move to Atlanta.
Allisha, you’re about two months away from the WNBA season, your first with the Atlanta Dream. What are you looking forward to most?
Allisha Gray: New beginnings. I recently got traded to the Atlanta Dream, so I’m very excited about that. Being close to home, close to my parents, but overall, just a breath of fresh air. I’m ready to get going.
You’ve been playing with Athletes Unlimited this off-season in Dallas. Your new teammate, Naz Hillmon, drafts you every week. What has developing that chemistry been like?
Allisha Gray: Playing with Naz has been amazing and fun. We probably went like one week without playing with each other, so that’s been great. When Naz is a captain, I always know I will be the first pick.
No surprises here 🤩 @nazhillmon uses her first pick to draft @Graytness_15 💙 pic.twitter.com/L4FklHkcqV
— Athletes Unlimited (@AUProSports) March 19, 2023
The biggest thing has been building for the WNBA season. First coming into AU, I didn’t know Naz. I knew her as a player, but not on a personal level. To be able to play with each other in AU is very important that we’re able to build the chemistry to head on to the WNBA so now I know what Naz likes, what she doesn’t like, where she likes the ball, how she likes to pick and roll.
What are some things you two have worked together on?
Allisha Gray: We go crazy in the pick-and-roll game. Naz knows what I like to do, I know what she likes to do.
If I’m coming off the screen, I know that Naz’s is going to be exactly where I need her to be to pass it to her, and also she’s just a great overall player. She’s a very energetic player as well.
Tim, what is the message of I Don’t Care, You’re Still a Bear?
Tim Mangum: The message is to spread kindness, equality and inform kids of what it’s like in the real world, but in a kid-like way where they’ll be able to grasp what he’s talking about.
It’s a lot of stories that don’t talk about racial differences or social inequality. I’m at the elementary school level, so I wanted to write something to provide parents and educators with. Something to start those conversations.
When the idea to write a children’s book come about?
Tim Mangum: When I was in graduate school. The idea came to me, and I actually didn’t write it, or start writing it for a long time. I told Allisha about it, and she started to get on me, like, “When are you going to start writing it because it’s a great idea?” So, I had to get started.