June 3, 2020
Gwendolyn Loyd’s new book details her journey with Jewell
The ultimate WNBA mom writes about a different period in their lives
Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives and projections about the game we love.
Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.
Jewell Loyd drives to the basket. (Chris Poss photo)
It’s July 20, 2018 and Jewell Loyd scores a season-high 31 points, securing a 78-65 victory over the Connecticut Sun. Days prior, she’d found out she’d made the WNBA All-Star roster and would be heading to Minnesota for her first appearance among the chosen 23.
Months later, she and the Seattle Storm would go on to sweep the Washington Mystics to win the 2018 WNBA Championship title. Jewell secured her spot as one of the greats that particular season, but she wasn’t the only one. Her mother, Gwendolyn (Gwen) Loyd was making a statement of her own.
Gwen traveled from city to city in the most flamboyant way. Jewell said frequently, “I see the glitter before I see her.” Always sitting courtside, Gwen held signs reading “Attend WNBA games. Buy Tickets,” “I support a salary increase for WNBA players!” and most famously, “Support the WNBA. BRING A FRIEND!!!”
The grassroots movement and genuine encouragement for her daughter and the other 140-or-so athletes in the Women’s National Basketball Association generated a distinct energy during the games and contributed to the upward trajectory of WNBA interest.
Two years later, Jewell and Gwen still are still exuding excellence. In a time where live sports has come to a halt, they have stayed busy by collaboratively raising awareness surrounding dyslexia, a learning disability we first discovered Jewell had through her journalistic disclosure in The Player’s Tribune. (https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/jewell-loyd-wnba-draft).
Gwen wrote The Invisible Disability, a short story detailing her experience with Jewell’s dyslexia. “My own experiences…as an educator helped me put The Invisible Disability together,” Gwen told The Next. “I was thinking, writing this book brings me closer to my daughter.”
Gwen’s book, that she colloquially dubs as her “book of Jewell,” is not only written about dyslexia, but crafted strategically so children with the disability can read it cover to cover. The intention was very much to make the story accessible and enjoyable for all.
“I wanted a book that all children could read…short stories so that they can feel comfortable and they’re not reading something boring,” Gwen said.
Gwen has been both an educator and author for many years and assures that her publishing journey is far from over.
“This is going to be a series of books,” Gwen says. And, as her creative juices keep flowing from page to page, book to book, Jewell is on a mission, herself, to raise awareness about dyslexia and continue to bring awareness and remove the stigma of dyslexia she feels it has.
“I was timid to announce it because I knew the stigma behind [dyslexia],” Jewell told The Next. Since her bold reveal five years ago, however, she’s discovered a new purpose.
“My version of success is knowing knowledge and if I can give some knowledge to them, that would be awesome,” Jewell said.
Jewell has used her platform to continue conversation, and has perfectly juxtaposed her mother’s mission. She’s known to give out her personal contact info to children in need and extend her hand in other philanthropic efforts around Seattle.
“If I could help that one kid see a vision, and help them along the way, that’s what I need to be doing.” Jewell said.