clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Review: “Shattered Glass” meets the moment by capturing the humanity of WNBA players

A new Tubi documentary meets the moment, chronicling the lives of three current WNBA players and one legend as they are—fully human. 

Brunchin’ with BGS (USC x Black Girl Sunscreen)
Nneka Ogwumike is one of three current WNBA players profiled in the forthcoming documentary, “Shattered Glass.”
Photo by Natasha Campos/Getty Images for Black Girl Sunscreen

This period of tremendous growth in the interest in and visibility of women’s sports, particularly women’s basketball, makes it a fitting time to tell the stories of those heroines. Stories that, too often, have been overlooked or cast aside.

Meeting this moment is Shattered Glass: A WNBPA Story, a new documentary that is set to debut exclusively on Tubi on Jan. 31. The film is produced by the Malka Media (MALKA) and directed by filmmaker Andrea Buccilla, a former college athlete who has a huge passion for telling stories about women’s sports.

The film tells the stories of three current WNBA players, Jonquel Jones, Nneka Ogwumike, Breanna Stewart and WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes. It captures them as most have never seen them before, taking the audience through a journey on what it is like to be a woman athlete while trying to strike a balance between career and life.

In other words, it shows them being human.

Buccilla, who grew up in a family of sports fans, told Swish Appeal that her knowledge of the WNBA was fairly limited until one of her executive producers, Jessica McCourt, told her that she should meet the current WNBPA Executive Director Terri Jackson. “We ended up on a call together,” she said. “Her knowledge of every single one of her players is mind blowing. She was telling me these stories and we said we have to make a film about this.”

The archetypes highlighted were selected as a representation of all players in the league, with Stewart, Ogwumike and Jones organically embodying them. Stewart is the mother, given that she is one of the best and most recognized players in the league who also juggles the responsibility of raising her two children, Ruby and Theo, with wife Marta Xargay.

Jones fills in the role of hustler, continuously grinding it out to prove that she belongs. She, of course, has done a pretty good job of that, named the 2021 WNBA MVP while also earning an arsenal of hardware.

Ogwumike is the advocate, the president of the WNBPA who fights for what is in the best interest for all the players in the league. Her work culminated in the historic 2019 collective bargaining agreement that included increased salaries and expanded benefits, such as child care and maternity care.

“We wanted archetypes that represent an entire league,” said Buccilla. “The idea to have different players was unique.”

Swoopes was featured as the luminary because of her transcendent appeal, as her groundbreaking career helped charter a new course for women’s basketball. Her story also served as a reminder of the early years of the league, when arenas were sold out and the marketing of the league was effective. There was a time when the league hit a bit of a downward trajectory in the mid- to late-2000s and 2010s, before the resurgence in popularity experienced today. As a result, this film couldn’t come at a better time. Fans are clamoring to learn more about women’s sports.

“These are human beings that are extremely smart, talented, and worthy of attention. What you might find is you may become a fan.” That untapped reservoir of fandom that has been in hiding for too long is now coming out of the shadows due to the hard work and dedication of the players featured in the film. For Buccilla, she hopes that the film will show that the WNBA possesses what sports fans like about sports and thus create more buzz. “People with a high sports IQ are going to like the WNBA” she said.

The production team for Shattered Glass consists of Breanna Stewart, Nneka Ogwumike, Jonquel Jones, Jessica McCourt (MALKA), Terri Carmichael Jackson, Rebecca Otto (Wasserman), Faith Suggs (Sports International Group) and Sheryl Swoopes, with Erin Gilchrist managing the production. The documentary is presented by PUMA, with additional support provided by Crown Royal Regal Apple.

Shattered Glass: A WNBPA Story premieres exclusively on Tubi beginning Jan. 31, 2024.