“144” Displays WNBA’s Impact and Importance


“The WNBA is so important” – Ari Chambers

The WNBA has long been at the forefront of the social justice movement. In 2016, players from the Minnesota Lynx warmed up in shirts with “Black Lives Matter” on them in response to the tragic murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile the week before in separate events. Four years later, the WNBA provided a look into how impactful the league has been on and off the court during a period of chaos that included a global pandemic and another major police brutality case in the murder of George Floyd. The recent documentary “144” from ESPN gave access to the 2020 WNBA Bubble.

The title of the documentary pays homage to the number of players that are in the league. The league dedicated their 2020 season to Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her sleep during a police raid gone wrong. They all wore Breonna’s name on the back of their jersey as a part of the #SayHerName campaign. The scene that was the most captivating involved players receiving news about Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back by a police officer. They met pregame and discussed postponing the game because they didn’t feel comfortable playing it.

Later that night, they had a player-only meeting to discuss how to move forward the rest of the season the best way possible. Players talked about how this trauma took a toll on mental health and how some players are only in the bubble because they have families to feed. The raw emotion from the scene shows how powerful the players were during the meeting, even though they likely felt vulnerable during that situation.

Another incredible segment highlights the players and political powerhouse Stacey Abrams working together to flip the control of the US Senate by endorsing Rev. Raphael Warnock from Georgia. Warnock won the election against Kelly Loeffler, the previous owner of the Atlanta Dream who opposed the Black Lives Matter movement. LA Spark Chiney Ogwumike served as the Executive Producer of the documentary. Chiney being close to the players, and her sister, Nneka, being the president of the WNBPA helped tremendously with the trust between the producers and players. It’s tough to recall another documentary that teaches people the importance of women’s sports. That’s precisely why we need to back the WNBA and their 25th season more than ever this year.


About Akhil Hollingsworth

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