When the world received the news back in January that NBA legend Kobe Bryant (and his beloved daughter, Gianna) had suddenly passed away due to a fatal helicopter crash, it was a knife in the back felt around the world. On Tuesday, NBC LX released “Change in the Game,” a brand new sports documentary film, produced by NBC LX host Tabitha Lipkin, which illustrates how the game of professional basketball has evolved over time, beginning with the highly-contested 3-point shot and the first woman to sign onto the WNBA, to Black Lives Matter and the late Kobe Bryant. 

And in the world of sports, particularly the NBA and WNBA seems significantly quieter since Bryant’s passing. For many, 2020 was a generational trauma, depending upon how you were affected – but one thing we all can agree on is that our world needs to come together now, more than ever to fight the social injustices and win the war on equality for all.

With an average run time of 26-minutes, “Change in the Game” is anything short of dull, bringing a range of emotions and sentiment to NBC LX viewers, teaching us that if the world of basketball is to survive, the WNBA is the key to longevity (and equality). 

NBC LX Presents: “Change in the Game”

The film is narrated by Lipkin, who initially came up with the idea of putting together a story on how the game of basketball has changed, in addition to virtual Zoom interviews with sports analyst and LifeFlip Media founder Eric Mitchell, NBA legends Ray Allen, Marques Johnson, and the WNBA’s Sheryl Swoopes. 

“It took about six months to put together,” Lipkin told PopWrapped in an exclusive interview. “It really was a phoenix of sorts – where it started out as a simple interview with Ray Allen, and turned into a larger story about basketball. Eventually, there was an idea to really dive in and talk about all the aspects of the sport.”

Today, the WNBA is not only under-valued, it’s almost completely, unacceptably glossed over. Throughout 2020, the WNBA has not only pushed for equality, but it has stood for many years, as an outspoken leader on social justice. 

“It’s why I’ve been an NBA fan for years,” Mitchell said in the NBC LX documentary. 

“…these players may play for different leagues, but they all stand for the same thing: equality.”

Eric Mitchell, founder of LifeFlip Media

Mitchell, the founder of LifeFlip Media, also regularly appears as a sports analyst on on-air television networks such as Cheddar, Bloomberg, BBC World News, KDLA, Fox5 DC, Ticker News, and many more. 

Mitchell recently appeared on WLNY Wake Up With Marci, discussing Simone Biles and the importance of mental health in a competition as big as the The Olympic Games, currently underway in Tokyo.

“The NBA’s belief in social justice; what they did in the bubble standing down and making sure Black Lives Matter was a huge social topic. These guys grew up in neighborhoods that weren’t safe, secure; they know what they’re talking about and they’re just trying to bring as much as they can to the forefront. And they have the support of their coaches…and when those players stood down, I stood up because I was so proud of them for taking the time to make a scene – which could have cost them $4 billion if they would have shut them down – but they didn’t care.”

Adding to Mitchell’s point, was Sharon Swoopes, the first woman to sign onto the WNBA, and a three-time WNBA MVP, whose endorsement of the WNBA allowed for women to be seen for who they really are. 

““A lot of people who really never followed the WNBA, for the first time, really truly were able to see who these women are, because of the bubble they were in last season due to the pandemic,” Swoope said.

With mainstream media facing scrutiny currently over the spread of “misinformation,” Lipkin told us that putting together a piece like [Change in the Game] takes time, but can often be overlooked at other news organizations because of its length. “But what we know about fans and the younger generations, is that context is appreciated – and sometimes context needs longer than a two-minute piece.”

And that is exactly what Lipkin and NBC LX have done in bringing the WNBA to life and into our reality today of fighting back against social injustice and systemic racism.