Skip to main content

Resumed NBA Season Hangs In Balance As Players Boycott Games And Discuss How To Proceed

In the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the court against the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first round playoff series, setting into motion a domino effect that once again paused sports.

Forget shutup and dribble. 

The shutting up hasn't happened.

And in a historic move Wednesday, the dribbling stopped too.

In the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the court against the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first round playoff series, setting into motion a domino effect that once again paused sports. 

Only this time, it was because of racism not a global pandemic. 

All three NBA games Wednesday were officially postponed, including Bucks-Magic, Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder and Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers.

But LeBron James took to Instagram to insert a correction. 

"Boycotted not postponed," James wrote.

Other leagues followed suit. 

The WNBA and MLS canceled all games Wednesday. And three MLB games were also called off; Brewers-Reds, Mariners-Padres and Dodgers-Giants. 

"F--- THIS MAN!!!!" James tweeted Wednesday. "WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT."

Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back by police officers seven times Sunday as he opened the driver's side door of a parked SUV in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

It was the final straw in a slate of shootings of Black men and women in 2020 at the hands of police or alleged vigilantes. 

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was gunned down by two white men in February while he was on a jog near his home in Brunswick, Georgia. Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot by three Louisville, Kentucky, police officers in her apartment in March. George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in May in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to multiple reports, the Lakers and Clippers voted against finishing the resumed NBA season at Walt Disney World near Orlando. 

Both teams are title contenders.

Kyle Kuzma posted side-by-side video footage of Blake being shot in the back, while a 17-year-old white youth who allegedly shot and killed two protestors in Kenosha on Tuesday apparently walked past officers holding a semiautomatic rifle. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

"Sacrifice comes before change," Kuzma tweeted. "What's right is right & wrong is wrong.

The Lakers, who were making their first playoff appearance in seven years, had a 3-1 series lead over Portland and were just one win away from advancing to the second round. 

Lakers governor Jeanie Buss threw her support behind the players. 

"I was excited to see us play - and hopefully close out our series - tonight," Buss tweeted. "But I stand behind our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou."

The Lakers released a statement in solidarity with the players.

"Eighty percent of NBA players are Black men," the Lakers said. "We cannot love them for the joy and entertainment that they bring to the world, yet sit in silence and fail to use our platforms and resources to amplify their voices when they demand the justice and equality that America has promised us all, but denied Black people for too long."

Some NBA players, including Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard, questioned in June whether the resumed NBA season would distract from the fight against racism and police brutality. 

Others argued that the playoffs would increase their platforms as they fight for social justice. 

But on Wednesday, the players banded together to say enough is enough. 

They had a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss how to proceed. According to ESPN, the players will hold another meeting Thursday morning, and the Board of Governors will meet as well. 

Nearly six months after the NBA was paused for four months in March, the future of basketball is once again uncertain. 

Over the last nearly two months in the NBA bubble, James and his teammates, along with other teams, have tirelessly fought for social justice while competing for the franchise's first championship since 2010. 

Before each interview, Danny Green demanded justice for Taylor. JR Smith brought his teammates red baseball caps they each wore before Game 1 with the following message: "Make America Great Again," with a slash through the words "Great Again," and the following sentence added: "Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor."

James repeatedly pled for justice for Taylor. He wore a T-shirt in honor of Floyd. And he dismissed President Donald Trump for criticizing NBA players for kneeling during the national anthem. 

After Game 4 on Monday, James spoke for 11 minutes about how torn up he was emotionally over Blake's death, but added that when he commits to something he likes to see it through. 

"I got half of my brain locked in on the playoffs and the other half locked in on how I can help Black people become greater in America," James said Monday.

But two days later, that delicate balance has clearly reached a tipping point. 

And once again, the only thing that's certain is uncertainty.