After days of protests in Wisconsin after the shooting of Jacob Blake, the NBA’s remaining playoff teams–starting with Wisconsin’s basketball team, the Milwaukee Bucks–decided to boycott their upcoming playoff games.
“We’re tired of the killings and injustice,” said Bucks guard George Hill. On Monday, Hill expressed remorse over coming to the NBA bubble in the wake of nationwide protests. When asked what players could do to assist in social justice efforts, Hill replied “We can’t do anything [from Orlando], first of all, we shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are.”
Kenosha is just 40 miles south of Wisconsin. The Bucks released an official statement on Monday morning.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers expressed his frustration with the state of the country. “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 we’re denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.”
On Wednesday, 17-year-old Illinois native Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested after allegedly shooting three people at protests over the Blake shooting. Two people died, and another was seriously wounded. Rittenhouse will be charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
As the scheduled tip-off time got closer, both the Orlando Magic and the Bucks hadn’t left their locker rooms. According to ESPN senior reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA executives stood outside Milwaukee’s locker room before tip-off. Shortly afterward, the team made the official decision to boycott the game.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell expressed his support on Twitter.
“We demand change!” he wrote, “Salute @Bucks.”
Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray echoed Mitchell’s sentiments. “We demand justice!,” he tweeted.
Subsequently, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder decided to join in on the boycott.
NBA TV is reporting that all three playoff games will be postponed today. LeBron James expressed his support of the boycott on Twitter.
The NBA announced the official decision shortly afterwards.
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