NBA boycott: What to know and what’s next as season hangs in balance with owners meeting looming

The NBA and its players and coaches have taken myriad measures to make clear their support for the Black Lives Matter movement while standing against all racial injustice and police brutality, but in the wake of a Black man named Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, there has been a running dialogue among players that what they’re doing isn’t enough, and moving forward, about what more they can do to use their platforms to impact change. 

On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks took the first step in what became a series of protests across professional sports by deciding not to take the court for Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic. Shortly thereafter, the following two games on Wednesday — Houston vs. OKC and Portland vs. the Lakers — were postponed by the league. From the NBA:

NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2020 – 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. 

Following the announcement that all NBA games were postponed on Wednesday, the players and coaches inside the bubble met to discuss next steps as the following days of action and perhaps the rest of the postseason hangs in the balance. Below is everything we know up to this point about the developments inside that meeting and where the league and its teams might got from here. 

1. Will games resume on Thursday?

At this point it looks unlikely, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. 

2. Could the rest of the season be canceled?

This is certainly a possibility, if not a growing likelihood as it was reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic that the Lakers and Clippers both voted as a team to boycott the rest of the season, with LeBron James expressing that he wants the team owners to be more involved and take more action than he believes they have to this point. 

For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like LeBron, or for that matter, Kawhi Leonard, will have their mind changed very easily, as both LeBron and Kawhi were “adamant” about not playing the rest of the playoffs and that they “wanted change,” per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. 

3. Do some teams want to keep playing?

Yes. As noted in the report above, the Lakers and Clippers were — again, reportedly — the only teams to vote against resuming the postseason. In other words, there’s disagreement, talks are ongoing, and players will meet again Thursday morning, per ESPN.

4. What has been the response from team owners?

This is a very important issue. So far, several owners and teams have released statements in support of the players’ decision not to play on Wednesday, but keep in mind the above report that LeBron doesn’t think owners are doing enough. All eyes will be on the Board of Governors meeting that is reportedly scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Thursday morning and what kind of action may or may not result from that meeting. 

5. What effects have the boycotts had so far?

Actually, one particularly meaningful ball has reportedly started rolling. Bucks players reportedly spent significant time on the phone with Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, which, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, then led to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers calling a special session of the State Legislature and urging lawmakers to vote on a legislative package that includes police reform.

We will continue to update this story as information becomes available. 

You can also stay updated with our LIVE blog, which will be updating with information regularly. 

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