8:17 pm CDT, Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Shortly, after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, the Rockets-Thunder and Lakers-Blazers games also were called off.
NBA TV had video of a handful of Thunder players doing some early shooting on the court about two hours before the game when a Thunder player came on the court to talk to them, then they all left the court together. NBATV also had video of the Rockets’ Russell Westbrook and the Thunder’s Chris Paul leaving what appeared to be a meeting between the team’s two leaders.
THE FIRST BOYCOTT: Milwaukee Bucks decide to sit out playoff game Wednesday afternoon
“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers – have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled,” a statement from the NBA read.
Rockets and Thunder players already were in discussions about boycotting the game, as were the Blazers and Lakers, when the NBA and NBA Players Association agreed to postpone the entire day’s schedule.
Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisc., about 40 miles south of Milwaukee, as he attempted to enter his vehicle where his three children were inside.
Bucks guard George Hill told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that they weren’t playing because “we’re tired of the killings and the injustice.” Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, whose team is scheduled to play the Jazz on Thursday, tweeted: “WE DEMAND JUSTICE!!!” The Lakers’ LeBron James, who is supposed to play the Blazers on Wednesday night, tweeted: “F— this, man. We demand change. Sick of it.”
On Tuesday, Rockets forward Robert Covington expressed despair that the players are unable to affect change from inside the NBA bubble.
“We are doing all this to really bring about awareness and it’s not too much that’s been done,” Covington said. “Every day we fear going outside that friends and family, you never know that you might get a phone call that someone that’s close to you might not make it to see the next day.
“That’s scary … to be having that feeling growing up in this world right now. There’s nothing being done. They still have not done anything about (Breonna Taylor) and the cops that killed her. We’ve been advocates about this for the longest. It’s just people are not taking initiative, they’re not taking the approach they should.”
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that “NBA players have called for a meeting tonight in Orlando to determine next steps.”