The NBA playoffs will officially return Saturday with the understanding that the league and its players will continue to work to create social change, according to an NBA press release.
The league had been on hold since Wednesday afternoon when the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to come out of their locker room before Game 5 against the Orlando Magic to protest social injustice and police brutality. The decision came in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wis., on August 23.
Following the Bucks' strike, the NBA decided to postpone all games as players throughout the league met to discuss how best to move forward.
“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality," NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote in a press release.
Following those discussions, the NBA players and owners agreed to resume the playoffs on Saturday with the understanding that all parties would work toward the following:
- The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.
- In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
- The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community," the press release continued.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
Though the league's official playoff schedule has yet to be released, the expectation is the Toronto Raptors will resume their playoffs on Sunday with Game 1 against the Boston Celtics.