While LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers ended up winning the championship after 96 days in the Walt Disney World bubble, it was the Milwaukee Bucks who made history by refusing to play a first-round game against the Orlando Magic.
Following the police shooting of an unarmed black man — Jacob Blake — in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Bucks chose to make a move that would put the focus of the bubble back on social justice.
While play would eventually resume after three days off, there were moments when it seemed as though the entirety of the postseason would be canceled in order for players to leave the bubble and return home. It was reported that James and the Lakers were one of the teams most in favor of leaving Orlando.
Looking back on those historic days of protest, James spoke about his opinion on the Bucks, the protest and help he received from President Barack Obama, via “The Shop” on HBO:
“When Milwaukee did what they did — and rightfully so — we understood that there was no way none of use could go on the floor. We stand as a brotherhood, we are a brotherhood in our league and we stood with the Milwaukee Bucks and what they wanted to do. But there was a time where we were ready to leave, too. The Lakers, myself included, we were ready to leave. We were trying to figure out if we leave, or if we stay, what is our plan? What is our call for action? I’m lucky enough to have a friend — the 44th President — that allowed us to get on the phone with him and get guidance.”
James has, on several occasions, credited his call with President Obama as one of the reasons for wanting to return to play. The sentiment was that players would be able to enact the greatest change from within the bubble, given the platform and resources they would lose by canceling the season.
James, Obama joke about easing into 2020-21 season
While much attention is still rightfully going towards the Lakers championship season, some focus is shifting to what will happen with the 2020-21 season, particularly now that a December start has been agreed to.
James joked with President Obama that he plans on cherry picking for the first month or so of the new season if he doesn’t get enough rest during the offseason.
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