The Milwaukee Bucks grabbed the world’s attention when they decided as a team to sit out Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic.
The move was stunning, but the other teams scheduled to play on Wednesday — including the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers — unanimously chose to follow their lead and sit out their games. The NBA then announced three the games would be postponed to a later date.
Players set a meeting later in the day to discuss possible next steps, with reports coming out that both the Lakers and L.A. Clippers were in support of boycotting the rest of the playoffs.
LeBron James in particular was described as having an emotional and frustrated reaction to the players’ meeting. The players reconvened Thursday morning and with James playing a prominent role, voted to resume the playoffs.
There also were talks between players and team owners, during which James conveyed he’s hopeful to see them be more proactive, according to Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report:
Sources say Lebron James was the last player to speak on the call and he delivered a strong, thoughtful message to the owners. His main point was that the work has to continue, and the owners have to truly dedicate to advancing this cause.
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) August 27, 2020
In what is shaping up to be a monumental moment for the NBA, James — along with the L.A. teams — have placed enormous pressure on both the league and the owners to come up with a plan that meets the demands of the players.
LeBron half focused on playoffs
The Jacob Blake shooting caused another wave of disappointment, anger, and frustration for players like James. Despite winning a pivotal Game 4 against the Blazers, James spent most of his postgame media session discussing the incident and how it affected him.
With one of the largest platforms in the NBA, James has taken it upon himself to raise awareness of what is going on and admitted that his focus is divided between that and the postseason.
“Anything that my name is attached to is going to be put out,” he said. “We want to do things that hit home and do things that’s grand and not just one off. I’m having conversations every day. I got half of my brain locked in the playoffs and the other half locked in on how the hell I can help Black people become greater in America. That’s what it’s all about.”
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