In the immediate aftermath of the decision by NBA players to boycott scheduled playoff games on Wednesday, the question asked by many was what’s next. The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to take a stand, and were followed by the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.
Emotions and tensions are high following another shooting of an unarmed black man, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, less than an hour from the Bucks’ home arena. Ultimately it was revealed that players from all teams remaining inside the Orlando bubble would be meeting in order to determine the next steps following this initial boycott.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Lakers star LeBron James, Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard and L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers were some of many to speak up during the meeting:
Doc Rivers, Armond Hill and John Lucas are among the coaches that spoke passionately tonight, per sources. Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, 'Melo, LeBron — lot of voices being heard amongst the players.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) August 27, 2020
Rivers gave an emotional interview following the Clippers’ latest victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Rivers touched on the change he feels is needed in this country, and James has long been extremely outspoken against anything he feels is unjust. Teams have already released statements in support of their players and the boycotts are spreading throughout other sports leagues as well.
The NBA has always empowered their players to be outspoken on any issues and there were conversations had before the league descended upon Orlando about potentially not returning. The players have been insistent that they will continue their message about racial inequality and their actions are matching their words.
The initial players meeting left matters unresolved, but they gathered again Thursday morning and agreed to resume the playoffs this weekend.
Los Angeles Lakers release statement in support of players boycott
Several franchises have expressed full support of their players, the Los Angeles Lakers were among them.
“We stand with our players and the players of the NBA in their demand for justice and the end of racial violence,” they said.
“Eighty percent of NBA players are Black men. 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.
“In 2020 alone, we have been made to bear witness to the killings of numerous unarmed Black men and women at the hands of the police, as well as private “vigilantes.” Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and now Jacob Blake. We must continue to say their names. But now is also the time for us to say enough.”
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