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Blazers' McCollum, others encouraged peers to resume playoffs

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum challenged fellow players at a Wednesday meeting "not to forfeit this platform by just quietly returning to their homes," according to a wide-ranging ESPN report.

McCollum and the rest of the players voted to continue the playoffs following a Wednesday boycott. Games are expected to tip off again this weekend, perhaps as soon as Friday.

McCollum was addressing the Wednesday boycott, which was started by the Milwaukee Bucks and stemmed from the players' desire to bring awareness to social justice and racial issues.

McCollum wasn't alone in his desire to resume the season on the Disney campus. Per ESPN, Boston Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown addressed the players and asked if they were planning to go home to work, or to be "on the front lines?"

Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley was also outspoken at the meeting, saying "he thought the coaches should leave the room so players could talk and vote among themselves," ESPN reported

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"Some of you don't want to play, but you don't want to say it in front of the coaches," Beverley said, ESPN wrote, citing sources.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and their teammates were reportedly among those who voted not to play at Wednesday's meeting.

Players gathered inside a ballroom on the Disney campus after the boycott. The meeting last about three hours, and James stormed out in frustration after the Lakers had cast their vote, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.

Also, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the meeting became "dysfunctional" once coaches were asked to leave the room. 

Coaches and team owners released statements of support for the players, and the NBA referees marched around campus in a display of support of their own.

McCollum and the Trail Blazers trail their best-of-seven series vs. the Lakers by a 3-1 count. They will be without star guard Damian Lillard once play resumes. Lillard returned to Portland to have his sprained right knee examined further.