The NBA is now at a crossroads moment after Wednesday’s three scheduled playoff games were postponed due to boycotts stemming from the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Blake – an unarmed African American man – was shot seven times by an officer of the Kenosha Police Department in Wisconsin and has become yet another victim of police brutality in the United States.
NBA players and staff – including LeBron James, George Hill, L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, and many more – have been very vocal this week about demanding justice for Blake. On Tuesday night, talks of the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics boycotting their Game 1 matchup currently scheduled for Thursday began circulating.
This turned into a league-wide movement, led by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks became the first team to boycott their game on Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after, games between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers, were postponed by the league.
Now, within the Walt Disney World bubble, players will be meeting to discuss their next steps, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 26, 2020
Regardless of each individual’s opinion on the boycotts and their effectiveness, this will go down as as a historic moment in sports. Players and teams uniting for justice while sacrificing the game they love the most is something that has never been done before on this scale, and they must be commended for their courage.
With three more games on the calendar for tomorrow, the players will hope to come to a consensus decision tonight on any next steps. It would make sense that all three games tomorrow would be postponed as well, so that all remaining bubble teams have a chance to show their commitment to this movement.
However, what comes after that is very up in the air. Whatever the players decide to do, their place in history has been cemented with the boldness of their actions.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel leads discussion on Jacob Blake
Vogel helped to facilitate a dialogue surrounding the shooting of Blake and what the team felt was best moving forward. “We talked about in film [Tuesday] morning,” Vogel said after practice. “It was really me addressing it to our team. The message was along the lines of obviously it’s disheartening and disturbing for all of us.
“It’s difficult to digest and then go play a game, but it’s OK to align our goals here with regard to we’re here to compete for a championship. The further we advance in the playoffs, the bigger our platform to speak up on this, grows. I think it’s important for our guys to understand that.”
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