ESPN Takes Us Inside the WNBA Bubble With New Documentary '144'

Thanks to a global pandemic crashing the party, 2020 was a year unlike any other. And for those curious about how athletes adapted during such an unprecedented time, ESPN will be giving us a glimpse with their upcoming documentary 144.


After COVID-19 shut everything down, professional sports organizations throughout the world had two options: either pull the plug on their seasons or find a way to safely move forward. The WNBA created a single site—more commonly known as a “bubble”—at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and locked in from July 25 until October 6 until a WNBA champion was determined.

Jenna Contreras, who co-directed the film, joined the extended slumber party and spent 62 days inside the bubble herself. During which, she documented the impact of the pandemic, the demands of a season dedicated to social justice, and the rigors of an unrelenting schedule—and is now kind enough to share that once-in-a-lifetime experience with the world.

“Developing this documentary about my sisters in the WNBA and the powerful 2020 season has been an honor,” WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike, who serves as an executive producer on the project, said in a statement to The Root.

144 amplifies the story of how our league helped create unprecedented social change while redefining how we see strong female athletes compete at the highest level. It is a privilege to showcase the 144 in their vulnerability letting cameras behind-the-scenes, their dedication to social impact, and their strength in navigating through one of the most challenging seasons we have ever had.”

For those curious as to what the name of the film is in reference to, it’s a nod to the 144 brave souls who played their hearts out in the bubble.

144 premieres on May 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. But in the interim, treat yourself to the trailer and thank me later.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.