Film Study: Reviewing ‘Shattered Glass’ WNBPA Tubi documentary

A lot of us, by now, know that Tubi is Fox’s answer to more ballyhooed streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others. It also helps that Tubi is a free streaming service as opposed to those larger alternatives that charge a monthly fee. 

And some of us were familiar with some of their content before Fox acquired it…

Nevertheless, one of Tubi’s offerings is the “Shattered Glass” WNBPA documentary that just dropped on Jan. 31. It centers on three WNBA stars – New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones along with current free agent Nneka Ogwumike who is also president of the WNBPA. 

There is plenty of time spent on executive meetings that Ogwumike has with the union as well as looking at the Liberty’s 2023 season from the eyes of the two New York stars. 

The watch is over an hour long and there is plenty to digest after watching it. Without further adieu, here is our review of the WNBPA documentary. Yes…there are spoilers. 

Towards the close of the documentary, it shows Ogwumike back in her native Houston interacting with her family. 

Leadership has always been central to Ogwumike’s life – as an on-the-court leader for any teams she plays for or her position at the WNBPA. But she mentions how she aspires to another leadership position. 

WNBA commissioner. 

A hypothetical Ogwumike commissionership would be massive for relations between the league and players. Being commissioner, of course, means being on the league’s (owners) side of collective bargaining negotiations every few years. But Ogwumike mentions how she would be able to see those talks from the players’ side because of being on the players’ side for so many years.

Commissioner Nneka Ogwumike does have a very nice ring to it…

There is plenty of talk within the documentary about the possibility of an opt-out of the current CBA. That opt-out can come into effect by way of either the league or the players. 

A player opt-out is much more likely than a league opt-out and definitely gets vibes from the documentary that an opt-out is coming. 

While the strides that were made during the 2020 CBA negotiations were certainly lauded as historic, it was also mentioned that more has to be done. Issues emphasized included charter flights, pensions for retired players and acknowledgement of players who also happen to be mothers – such as we see with Stewart and her wife Marta Xargay. 

There is a portion of the documentary that takes viewers back to where Jones grew up – The Bahamas. It emphasized how she always wanted to be a women’s basketball player, but how women’s hoops does not get the same attention in The Bahamas the way it does in the United States. 

Also, it mentions that Jones would ideally want to have a wedding with her and her significant other in The Bahamas, but same-sex marriage is outlawed in that country. 

A portion of the documentary also mentions how Jones struggled with fitting in because she embraced looking more “tomboyish” than her peers in high school. It was when she entered the WNBA where she felt she could be her true self. 

In the beginning of the documentary, Holly Rowe gives a brief narration of the hype surrounding the WNBA when it first launched in 1997, then how said hype fizzled out and the W became a punchline for pundits wanting to get their misogynistic you-know-whats off. 

It mentions how the rise of the WNBA is part of a larger movement in society where women are shattering glass ceilings everywhere. Beyonce and Taylor Swift were selling out stadia everywhere they went. Barbie was, perhaps, the biggest box office smash of 2023. Society wants to see women as symbols of leadership as opposed to objects of male desires.

One can tell if a documentary is meant for casual fans or for diehard fans. 

“Shattered Glass” is definitely meant for casual fans. Diehard aficionados of the W are familiar with why players go overseas, the current salary structure of the WNBA or many of the provisions of the current CBA. 

Casual fans may not necessarily know these details – and their perspectives on the W will likely shift once they watch the documentary and see that life as a professional women’s basketball player is a massive physical and mental grind.