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NBA Player Meeting Ends in Uncertainty

NBA Bubble Court
Photo courtesy of Tim Reynolds | The Athletic

On August 26th, 2020, the NBA players held a meeting to discuss how to move forward with their season now. Reports suggest the meeting did not end on a strong note, leaving uncertainty in the air about what will come, via Shams.

The Lakers and Clippers, including LeBron James, were the only teams to vote against continuing the season. James mentioned the owners becoming more involved in the change process in what it would take for him to continue playing.

The NBPA will be present at the special Board of Governors Meeting tomorrow morning, 8/27 at 11am ET.

Here We Go Again

On March 11th, 2020, the entire sports world was shut down in an unprecedented event. The corona virus caused the NBA, as well as many other leagues, to postpone all player activity for multiple months, a feat no one had ever witnessed before.

And now it’s happening again.

Following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer Sunday, August 23rd, the NBA has come to a standstill for the second time this season.

Boycott

The first rumors to surface of NBA players taking action came from the Raptors and the Celtics. The teams were scheduled to play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals on Thursday, August 27th. Rumors began to surface of the players feeling uneasy about continuing to play in the face of continuing problems in society. All options were reportedly on the table, including boycotting Game 1.

Next came the games closer at hand. The Milwaukee Bucks began to seriously consider boycotting Game 5 of their series against the Magic.

The Bucks refused to leave the locker room and ultimately boycotted their game against the Magic. Though the Magic were ready to play, they left the arena and did not accept the Bucks’ forfeit. This means that no one won Game 5.

The Rest of the NBA Follows Suit

Not long after the postponement of Bucks-Magic Game 5, the Thunder and Rockets began discussion of whether to play their Game 5. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were even seen talking together as options were discussed.

The teams ultimately boycotted the game, as was the decision of the Lakers and Blazers for their own Game 5.

All three playoff games slated for August 26th are postponed at the least, with the three scheduled for August 27th likely to follow.

Calling for Change

The Bucks held a conference call with leadership from their hometown of Milwaukee, later reported by Woj.

Bucks Facing Pressure

The events of this week hit the Bucks, perhaps more than anyone, close to home, both literally and figuratively. The shooting of Jacob Blake happened in Kenosha, WI, roughly 45 minutes outside of Wisconsin. The pressure to push for justice in this case fell more heavily on the Bucks shoulders than any other team. George Hill and Sterling Brown read a statement from the Bucks.

It was no accident that Sterling Brown was at the forefront of this delivery. Back in September of 2018, a police officer tased Brown during an arrest stemming from a parking violation. The officer later lost his job after posting “racist” and “derogatory” content on social media following the arrest. More on that story here.

NBA Support

The NBA Players Association held a meeting after all the postponement of games Wednesday, inviting any player who wanted to attend. The main speakers of the night were vocal leaders in the league.

The NBA set up the bubble in an attempt to help players spread awareness, ranging from displaying “Black Lives Matter” on the court to wearing a social message of their choice on their jersey. The NBA intended to keep players safe from the ensuing Coronavirus with the bubble, but it quickly became a platform for some of the largest names in American sports to fight social justice issues on one of the world’s largest stages. With the social problems continuing to be problems, there are likely to be many more decisions similar to this one, across multiple sports and countries, in the near future.

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