NBA Postpones Playoff Games After Milwaukee Bucks Players Protest

The Bucks boycott Game 5 in protest of Jacob Blake shooting.

All three NBA playoff games have been postponed on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks decided to sit out of their game against the Orlando Magic in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The announcement came after the Magic were seen exiting the Orlando “bubble” arena and boarding their bus once it was clear the Bucks were not coming out. Tip-off between the two teams was scheduled for 1 pm PT at what would have been Game 5 of their first-round series. Other games postponed include the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Oklahoma City Thunder versus the Houston Rockets.

Although it is unclear whether Thursday’s games will also be postponed, the NBA released the following statement about Wednesday’s playoff games: “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.”

The Magic later released their own statement about the day’s events: “Today we stand united with the N.B.A. office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color.”

Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin as he attempted to get into his car. The shooting – which occurred Sunday evening and was captured on video – left Blake paralyzed, according to his family, and has led to large-scale protests in Kenosha against racism, police brutality, and systemic injustice.

Bucks guard George Hill told The Undefeated, “We’re tired of the killings and injustice.”

Before the Bucks vs. Magic game, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters that playing the game is a difficult decision for his team in light of what happened in their home of Wisconsin.

“Our team has had lots of conversations and has a high level of concern and wants to continue to fight for racial justice, for social justice, for the end of excessive use of force by police. But I think it’s best for our team conversations and what we’re thinking and doing to stay private until if and when a player or myself decides something needs to be made public.

“But there’s a lot of concern, there’s a lot of conversation, there’s a lot of frustration, but I also think our players want to find a way to fight for better, and there’s lots of different ways to do that. I think everything is under consideration.”

According to reports, the Milwaukee Brewers will join the Bucks in boycotting their game against the Cincinnati Reds, scheduled for Wednesday night, in protest of Blake’s shooting.

Several NBA stars including Lebron James, Jamal Murray, and Donovan Mitchell have tweeted out in solidarity with the Bucks. The NBA playoffs have been played in a bubble environment due to coronavirus concerns, and the continuing of the season has allowed for players to utilize their platforms to protest social issues, racial inequality, and police violence in the United States.

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