KISSIMMEE, Fla. — NBA players have decided to continue with the postseason, but games won’t resume until Saturday, a league source said Thursday.
Two members from each of the 13 teams in the bubble at Walt Disney World met with the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday in a Zoom call. The players challenged the owners to make more than financial commitments. They want the owners to be proactive in the fight for racial and social justice.
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan tried to get the other owners to understand the players’ point of view. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James challenged the owners to be dedicated to advancing the cause.
This comes after the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer seasons were interrupted Wednesday, as players boycotted games to protest racial injustice and Sunday’s shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wis. The WNBA also opted to not play on Thursday.
In a Thursday morning meeting, the players felt it was best to remain in the NBA bubble as a way to use their platforms to fight racism. They’re looking for better ways to make statements against social injustice.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers decided in a preliminary player vote not to resume the season. However, they changed their minds during Thursday’s meeting.
The 76ers addressed the issue in a statement: “Almost three months to the day of George Floyd’s murder, our country is reeling from the shooting of another Black man — Jacob Blake. Last night, players across our league stood up with one unified voice and said enough is enough. We stand in solidarity with the players and support them in demanding action. This has to end now.”
The NBA and the players’ association postponed Wednesday’s three playoff games in the bubble after the Milwaukee Bucks made it clear they would not play Game 5 of their opening-round series against the Orlando Magic in protest of the Blake shooting.
Milwaukee is 40 miles north of Kenosha.
When the postseason resumes, Thursday’s playoff games — Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz , Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors, and Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks — will be played. Wednesday’s playoff games to be played are between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.
NBA players and coaches in the bubble met Wednesday night to discuss the issue, and a league source said they first spoke via Zoom with the Blake family. James and the Miami Heat’s Andre Iguodala spoke about the players staying united and holding their team owners accountable.
The group talked about the finances of more boycotts and future collective bargaining agreements if they ended the season. The Bucks’ Kyle Korver and Clippers coach Doc Rivers talked about what steps to take next, and others talked about their power to vote. Rockets assistant coach John Lucas, a former Sixers head coach, gave a powerful speech.
“Today was historic,” he said. “Don’t f--- it up,”
He instructed the players to call NBA commissioner Adam Silver and contact owners and politicians.
After the coaches left, the meeting became heated. Clippers guard Patrick Beverley argued with James and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul. Several members of the Lakers and Clippers got so upset they walked out.