When the NBA players made the decision to boycott playoff games in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, there were questions as to whether or not this would lead to the cancellation of the rest of the postseason.
There were reports that both the Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Clippers both voted to walk out and end the season. Exactly how close the players were to walking away isn’t quite known.
But it was undoubtedly a possibility and one that Danny Green said the Lakers were willing to do. “It was kind of up in the air, 50-50,” Green said. “I had a strong sense it wouldn’t be (cancelled). I felt like most of our guys, top guys on most teams wanted to be here and play. But if we don’t stand for anything, we won’t get anything done.
“So we were willing to walk away if we had to.”
The players felt the need to take a stand following the latest incident. It is hard for them to see Black Lives Matter on the court and multiple messages on jerseys, and then sit idly while another Black man is shot by police. Players want more than just words, they want actions to take place.
Count Green among those who supported resuming the playoffs, but only if the right actions off the court are taking place. “We’ve come this far, come to where our families are almost here, to shut it down would’ve been silly,” he acknowledged.
“But it would be silly for us to not get some type of change or action. So we were going to stop playing and make a statement that we’ve got to get some type of change.”
The NBA stepped up in a big way with the league and numerous teams working with local and state governments to enact change they deem necessary. The league is continuing now, but Green does believe that if they need to, the players will take these steps again.
“Fortunately, we’ve got some good people behind us, some good support, and people took this situation serious enough to get some things done,” Green said. “We’re here now because we’ve always wanted to be here, always wanted to play, but if it comes down to it again, if we have to do it, we will. Basketball is just a game, and a lot of us would do it for free.”
Anthony Davis says team owners will be held accountable
While players and owners reached an agreement on actionable items moving forward, there remains a possibility for either side being let down. Anthony Davis made it clear if team owners fail to follow through on their commitments, the players won’t hesitate to boycott once again.
“After the meeting, we’re very confident that they will,” he said. “The conversations went well. If they don’t, then we won’t play again. It’s simple as that. They were very powerful and impactful meetings, and I think the owners will (keep their word).”
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