It appears the NBA season is in jeopardy once again, but this time the potential shutdown has nothing to do with the pandemic.
Earlier this afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks—the team that finished first in the Eastern Conference with a record of 56-17, the best record in the NBA—elected not to take the court for their 4 p.m. matchup with the Orlando Magic.
Instead, the Bucks chose to boycott game five over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was shot seven times by police in front of his children.
The shooting of Blake, which has reportedly left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down, sparked protests in Kenosha that resulted in Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency and call in the national guard, while the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department has implemented an 8 p.m. curfew.
- Mohawk College in Hamilton reporting student COVID-19 case at Fennell campus
- Ontario reporting 978 new COVID-19 cases today, six new deaths
- Highest temperature record broken in Hamilton on Friday
A video of Blake’s shooting has been circulating on social media, in the video, Blake appears to walk away from police towards a vehicle that his children were allegedly inside. When he attempted to enter the vehicle, he was shot multiple times by a white police officer.
Many members of the NBA community voiced their frustration with the latest act of violence towards a Black person at the hands of police, and the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics had discussed the possibility of boycotting their first game of the second round on Thursday.
However, the Bucks were the first team to officially refuse to play. Before the game, Magic players took to the court, but the Bucks refused to leave their locker room.
After the countdown to tipoff hit 0, the Bucks still hadn’t made their way to the court, and it was announced the team would not be playing shortly after.
Not long after the Bucks refused to play, The Athletic’s Shams Charania announced the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets had decided they would also not be playing their game scheduled for this afternoon (August 26).
Many NBA players have voiced their support for the Bucks, including former Raptor DeMar DeRozan.
“This [is] bigger than basketball! Whoever doesn’t understand that is part of the problem,” DeRozan tweeted.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA has elected to postpone all games scheduled for today and reschedule them for a later date.
However, NBA players have scheduled a meeting for tonight at 8 p.m. to discuss how to they intend to move forward after today’s protests, Wojnarowski announced via Twitter.