The last scene of the film shows Monica playing for a team in the newly-formed WNBA, with Quincy and a baby daughter cheering her on from the stands, showing that the couple has managed to find happiness and success both in their professional goals as well as in their personal relationships.
Athleticism as Knowledge?
It can be difficult at first to equate the professional development seen in this film with the concept of a knowledge worker. It is of course true in the strictest sense that athletic ability is not really the same as knowledge, and might even be considered closer to manual labor in some instances. For both Monica and Quincy, however — and really, for any great player of any sport — success is determined by how well they can play the game in their heads, and not just on the court. Their knowledge has to do with their own and their teams capabilities and their ability to both make decisions and get others to follow them, and this is the realm of knowledge workers (Nickols 2000).
What enables Monica to eventually earn a leadership role on her high school team, become a player on the college team despite the fierce competition, and get hired as a leader for her team in Barcelona is her ability to finally control her temper and actually use her knowledge on the court. When she plays fiercely and tries to simply get the job done with brute force — through the sheer power of manual labor, one might say — she ends up failing, but when she approaches the game as a knowledge worker she succeeds. For Quincy, the game is also very much about playing smart, and playing as a leader, and this is what makes him a valuable asset to his teams as well. It also means that his injury does not need to be the end of his involvement in basketball, and he could even have a career involved with the sport in some other capacity because his knowledge is still valuable even if his body cant keep up. Though knowledge workers remain replaceable, and are even perhaps replaced at faster rates as knowledge changes, it is actually more possible to keep up with knowledge changes than to try and keep our bodies functioning at a youthful level (Zunker 2006).
The relationship that exists between Monica and Quincy is also of huge importance to the two characters in terms of their personal as well as their professional development.
At many points throughout the film, a quasi-mentoring relationship can be seen to exist between the two characters. Typically, Quincy fills the role as the mentor as he demonstrates greater skill and control of his abilities (Kram & Isabella 1985). Ultimately, however, the two manage to find an equal give-and-take of knowledge and support, creating a more effective relationship (Kram & Isabella 1985).
This movie spans a large period of time in the lives of the characters, and so spans many different phases of their personal and professional development as well. Though the film is suggestive of some sort of “arrival” at the end, as most films must be, in reality both Quincy and Monica are in impermanent stations in life, and are likely still in the establishment phases of their career (Zunker 2006). In their adolescence, the two are very much in the exploration phases of their lives, even though they both have a solid love of basketball. Then, when they are adults, it might seem as though both have reached the maintenance stage rather early — they are working at the top possible levels in their chosen careers, and arent planning any major changes. This is disrupted by Quincys injury, which helps to cement Monicas understanding that she isnt happy with her life and career; both still actually have a lit of searching and a lot of trials to go through before they settle on something more permanent. Even at the very end of the film, it is unclear what Monica will do when she retires form basketball, and Quincys career is left entirely open, as well.
Both Working Girl and Love & Basketball share very clear stories of attempts to gain professional as well as personal fulfillment. These movies have very different stories and characters, which makes their similarities even more striking. It is clear that fulfillment in life comes from many areas, and a conscious ability to work towards this fulfillment in a knowledgeable way is necessary for success.
Kram, K. & Isabella, L. (1985). Mentoring alternatives. Academy of management journal 28(1): 110-32.
Drucker, P. (2000). Implementing the effective management of knowledge. In the knowledge management yearbook, Cortada & Woods, eds. Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Nickols, F. (2000). “What is” in the world of work and working..