On Thursday morning, the players met again — a day after the Bucks chose not to take the floor for the playoff game against the Magic — and voted in favor of resuming the playoffs.
The Bucks’ decided not to play on Wednesday, which led to all three playoff games being postponed that day. And the NBA announced on Thursday morning that it would delay the playoff games scheduled to be played later that day: Denver-Utah, and LA Clippers-Dallas and Boston-Toronto.
As to when games will officially be played hasn’t been determined as players and league officials continue discussions. However, the expectation is that Wednesday’s scheduled slate now will be played Saturday, and Thursday’s games will be held Sunday, sources said.
NBA players choose to continue playoffs
The NBA players’ decision to resume the playoffs came less than a day after the Bucks made a decision not to take the AdventHealth Arena court to play against the Orlando Magic. The teams playing in the games on Wednesday followed suit; the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Finally, a long meeting among coaches and players inside the league bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort was held Wednesday night. Sources said the players met once more on Thursday morning, leading to their decision.
The league officials met the players Thursday night again, with part of their discussions focused on putting together an action plan to address racial injustice. The NBA and the players are expected to announce a program that will include a push for voter accountability and police accountability, as well as support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Milwaukee Bucks chose not to take the court against the Orlando Magic after Sunday’s shooting of 29-year-old black man Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by police in Wisconsin.
Players were frustrated and angry this week after seeing another video of a Black man who got shot by police, despite all the time and effort they spent speaking out against racial injustice issues and police brutality as part of their decision to resume play. After Monday’s win over the Orlando Magic, Bucks guard George Hill expressed bluntly about how he felt.
“It’s just sickening,” Hill said when asked about the shooting of Blake. “It’s heartless. It’s a f**ked-up situation. As I said, you’re supposed to look at the police to protect and serve. Now, it’s looked at harass or shoot almost to take a guy’s life. Thank God he’s still alive.
“I know the cops are probably upset he’s still alive because I know they surely tried to kill him. But to almost take a man’s life, especially in front of one’s kids, that wasn’t resisting, in his back at point-blank range, is a heartless and gutless situation. We need some justice for that.”
Jacob Blake was shot as he tried to enter the driver’s side door of his car with three of his children in it. Video of the gruesome shooting went viral on social media.
When he asked what the Bucks could do from inside the bubble, Hill didn’t mince words, either.
“The league is working alongside the players and coaches to address the racial injustices as well as other matters.”
“We can’t do anything,” he said. “First of all, we shouldn’t have even come to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming just here took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we’re here, so it is what it is. We can’t do anything from right here, but I think, when it’s all settled, some things have to be done.
“I think this world has to change. I think our police department has to change. Us as society has to change. And, right now, we do not see any of that. Lives are being taken, as we speak, day in and day out, and there’s no consequence or accountability for it, and that’s what has to change.”
Its been nearly two months since the teams entered the league bubble — and in the Raptors’ case, more than two months because of issues with the border that stopped them from going on with training camp in Toronto — so it has been quite a tiring experience for everyone. Paul George talked about this week about struggles he has had with mental health, and he said, “The bubble got the best of him.”
Players in the second round of the playoffs who have their friends and family members allowed to enter the bubble have begun the quarantining process. They could join them next week, depending on when teams advance and when they are allowed to enter.
Demanding societal change and ending racial injustice had been a significant part of the league restart. “Black Lives Matter” was painted on the arena courts, the players are wearing jerseys inscribed with messages that
urge change, and coaches, as well as players, have spent time talking about social causes that are important to
them, ranging from education reform to voting to police brutality and combating racial inequality.