After a night of deliberation and meetings between players, the NBA will to resume the 2020 NBA playoffs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Players from the Milwaukee Bucks initiated a strike on Wednesday in protest of police brutality, specifically in the case of Jacob Blake who was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland Trail Blazers followed suit in a decision that surprised team owners. The MLB, MLS, and WNBA also followed suit.
However, Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics will be postponed, along with the other two playoff games that were set to take place on Thursday, Wojnarowski adds. The playoffs will resume as early as Friday, or by the weekend at the very least.
Game 2 of Raptors-Celtics was set for Saturday, which would make for a logical restart.
Discussions continue around the next steps for players, as well as what demands they might have for the league office, team owners, sponsors and other powerful entities. However, it appears the players have agreed that a return to playing would be the best course of action, especially after LeBron James and other stars had a change of heart during meetings, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Blake’s shooting was a devastating event for most in the NBA, especially since the restart came in the midst of a global pandemic and a sweeping social justice movement. On top of the traumatic imagery of seeing more Black pain at the hands of police, there was also disappointment from players who have made every effort to highlight and combat the specific issue of police brutality.
Several Raptors players, including Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and Pascal Siakam spoke at length about the frustration and anger they felt, and how that superseded their ability to focus on the playoffs. Nick Nurse even revealed that players had conversations about potentially leaving the bubble altogether, so it’s unclear how the games will be played moving forward.
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