The court and benches are empty of players and coaches at the scheduled start of an NBA basketball first round playoff game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic, SIPA USA/PA Images

NBA postpone playoff games as players stage boycott in protest at police shooting

The Milwaukee Bucks did not show up on court for tonight’s game in protest at the shooting of unarmed African-American Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday.

LAST UPDATE | 26 Aug 2020

THE NBA POSTPONED its schedule of playoff games on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against the Orlando Magic in protest at the police shooting of an unarmed black man.

The league said in a statement that all three games – Milwaukee versus Orlando, Houston Rockets versus Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers versus Portland Trail Blazers – would not take place Wednesday.

“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 Five against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games … have been postponed,” the statement said.

Each game will be rescheduled.

The Bucks staged a dramatic boycott of their game with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday following outrage across the league at the shooting of unarmed African-American Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Wednesday. 

Multiple US media reports said the Bucks had refused to play game five of their Eastern Conference first round series in protest. 

Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha as he attempted to get into a car containing his three children, sparking protests that left two people dead.

“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Bucks player George Hill was quoted by The Undefeated website as saying.

The Bucks were due to take the court for game five of their Eastern Conference first round series shortly after 4pm local time but did not appear, prompting NBA officials to visit the Bucks’ locker room. 

ESPN then confirmed the Bucks have boycotted the game in protest at the shooting of 29-year-old African-American Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Following confirmation of the Bucks’ boycott, LeBron James tweeted his support:

Earlier today, Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse said his players and counterparts from the Boston Celtics had discussed a possibly boycott of their playoff game set for Thursday.

“Boycotting the game has come up to them to demand a little more attention,” Nurse said. “It is ongoing discussions. I think it is one idea on the table. There are some other ideas on the table as well.”

The NBA’s coronavirus-halted season resumed last month in Orlando against the backdrop of protests following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd during his arrest by police in Minneapolis in May.

NBA teams have knelt in protest during the pre-match playing of the US national anthem while the words “Black Lives Matter” have been painted onto each court staging games in Florida.

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers contrasted the shooting of Jacob Blake with the fearful rhetoric at this week’s Republican Party convention.

“All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear,” Rivers said.

“We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that are denied to live in certain communities.

“We’ve been hung, we’ve been shot. All you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s amazing to me why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back.”

 © – AFP, 2020,  with reporting by Gavin Cooney

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