ORLANDO – In a matter of hours after the NBA postponed the three games on Wednesday’s schedule due to player protest, two of the league’s top teams have reportedly made the choice to sit out the rest of the NBA season.
In a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers voted to sit out the remainder of the season in light of the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, Jr.. The teams that are currently inside the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort met together and it was reportedly tense, with Lebron James leading both the Lakers out of the conference room, followed by Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. Per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, both James and Leonard were adamant that the season not continue.
The remainder of the teams voted to continue on, to which Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem said what most basketball fans have to be thinking at this point.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted that the vote was more of a polling than a final vote, according to source. However, both Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews reported that the players have another scheduled meeting at the same time as the NBA Board of Governors call at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic initially made the decision to boycott their Eastern Conference First Round Game 5 matchup due to the recent shooting of Kenosha resident Jacob Blake, Jr.. After they made the initial call, the rest of the teams playing met to discuss their options and ultimately chose to do the same, which led to the overall meeting. The meeting that occured Wednesday focused on a wide range of issues in regards to the decision to strike.
Both James and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers have spoken passionately over the last few days about the fear Black people have in America in regards to their safety and their place in this country. Since the restart in Florida, the league has allowed its players to wear messages that support the Black Lives Matter movement as well as kneeling before the National Anthem to bring awareness to social justice. However, some players, including an outspoken Kyrie Irving, were skeptical about returning to play amidst the racial unrest that has handicapped the country in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
Following the lead of the NBA, other leagues boycotted their respective games on Wednesday: WNBA, MLS, MLB, and Naomi Osaka announced she will not play in Thursday’s Western & Southern Open semifinal match.