NBA players have decided to resume the playoffs, a source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Thursday’s three playoff games are postponed, the league announced.
Players held a meeting at 11 a.m. ET and continue to have discussions about the timing of resuming the playoffs — with an expectation that a Saturday return will be finalized later Thursday.
“There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps,” NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement.
Those next steps are to formulate action plans to address racial injustice issues and iron out details of restarting the playoffs, according to a source.
Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That’s why your vote is @morethanavote ✊🏾 #BlackLivesMatter
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 27, 2020
Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks — the NBA’s team from Wisconsin, a state rocked in recent days by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man — didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The teams were set to begin Game 5 of their series shortly after 4 p.m. ET, with the Bucks needing a win to advance to the second round. That matchup, along with the Oklahoma City Thunder–Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers–Los Angeles Lakers games, was postponed.
Demanding societal change and ending racial injustice has been a major part of the NBA’s restart at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” is painted on the arena courts, players are wearing messages urging change on their jerseys, and coaches are donning pins demanding racial justice.
Many players wrestled for weeks about whether it was even right to play, fearing that a return to games would take attention off the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation in March. The warrant was in connection with a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found.
Floyd, who was Black, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. That was captured on a cellphone video.
Wednesday’s postponed NBA games came on the fourth anniversary of Colin Kaepernick‘s first protest of the national anthem before an NFL preseason game. Kaepernick sat through the anthem for his first protest, which he said was to protest racial inequality and police mistreatment of minorities. He kneeled during the anthem for the rest of the 2016 season.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears contributed to this story.