A’ja Wilson on How Authenticity Is Your Superpower - Jen Hatmaker

A’ja Wilson on How Authenticity Is Your Superpower

“The self-accountability that [my role models] instilled in me allows me to (instill) that into someone else. I can be that leader for my teammates and hold them accountable because I want you all to do the same for me”

Episode 01

Women’s sports are having a major moment right now, with basketball superstars like A’ja Wilson leading the charge. Considered one of the best WNBA players to ever grace the court, A’ja is using her towering influence to encourage not only young black girls, but all women who have felt the need to change who they are to fit in. A’ja fought to be herself every step of the way in her journey of becoming a G.O.A.T. in the WNBA. 

In this uplifting conversation, A’ja Wilson opens up about the challenges she faced as a young black woman trying to be her authentic self. From an anecdote about confronting racism in 4th grade to the influential women who instilled self-love during her journey to the top, A’ja shares her playbook for empowerment with raw honesty. She discusses the motivation behind writing her new book “Dear Black Girls” and the importance of defining yourself instead of letting others do it for you.

If you’ve ever felt the need to shrink yourself to fit in or been made to feel “other,” A’ja’s wisdom will inspire you to embrace all that makes you beautifully unique.


Episode Transcript

Hi everyone, Jen Hatmaker here. I am your host of the For the Love podcast. Welcome to the show. If you can hear me smiling, it’s because I am. I just finished today’s episode and I’m pumped to bring it to you. We are in an awesome series, right now called For the Love of Black Trailblazers, and we are speaking to super high-level black women in their various fields. They are accomplished. They are credentialed. They are breaking barriers. They are breaking ceilings. They’re like best in class in their industries. And it’s empowering and inspiring to talk to every single one of them. 

Obviously, it’s Black History Month, which matters. It matters that we are honoring black artistry, black creativity, black excellence, and the black contribution to American culture. It should really be black history year. It is particularly this month so we’re overlaying it with this particular series. I’m telling you every one of these interviews is so powerful and, I feel so connected to it too as a woman. As I hear these women pushing into these areas that have been previously closed to women in general, then you add this racial layer on top of it and you realize these women are stars. Wait till you hear who we have today. Talk about a star and she’s just an absolute force not only as a professional but as a human. 

Today we have A’ja Wilson. If you know, you know. A’ja is a pro athlete. She’s a professional basketball player for the Las Vegas Aces. She’s not just a pro. She is arguably one of the best players ever. She’s considered one of the greatest athletes in professional women’s basketball. She’s a two-time MVP. She is the face of the WNBA. She helped lead the USA Women’s National team to gold at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics. She is coming off of two back-to-back national championships. She’s got it all. She has all the gold medals. On top of that, she’s a stellar teammate, a beautiful person, and an incredible leader. Among other things, she’s the creator of the A’ja Wilson Foundation, which we will talk about for a little bit. It’s a resource for kids who struggle with dyslexia, and other learning disabilities. She has this incredible foundation surrounding them, their teachers, and their families. She is releasing her very first book this month called Dear Black Girls. I loved talking to her about this today. This is the first line of the description of her book: “This one is for all the girls with an apostrophe in their names. This is for all the girls who are labeled too loud and too emotional. This is for all the girls who are constantly asked. ‘Oh, what did you do with your hair? That’s new.’ This is for my black girls.”

Incredible. She shares her real story, her real heart, and her real life in her book — what she’s faced, what she’s learned, what she’s overcome, who’s built her, and the women she admires. Then just outside of all that, she’s low-key, a champion. The city of Vegas is obsessed with her, and the franchise that she helped build. She’s in her seventh year in the WNBA, and I mean, really, the world’s her oyster. We’re lucky to have her, you guys. We are lucky to have a woman of this caliber at this level who’s literally killing the game. So what a great conversation today. You’re going to love it too. Welcome the wonderful A’ja Wilson.





Dear Black Girls: How to Be True to You
by A’ja Wilson

Dawn Staley

The Players’ Tribune


The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media,
presented by Audacy.

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