The NBA has postponed all playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night after the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play their fifth playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
Police were called on Blake after he took a woman’s keys and refused to return them. A Wisconsin Circuit Court filed an arrest warrant for Blake in July for alleged criminal trespass, domestic abuse, and third-degree sexual assault. Officers in Kenosha shot Blake while attempting to arrest him on Sunday, likely leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
The Bucks on Wednesday decided not to leave their locker room in advance of their playoff game against the Magic, ESPN reported. Video shared by reporter Malika Andrews showed a worker putting the game’s basketballs away.
“In light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games…have been postponed,” the league said in a statement.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Bucks guard George Hill told sports news site The Undefeated. Players for the Magic were on the court waiting to play, but left several minutes before the game was scheduled to begin. The Bucks have won three of four games against the Magic in the series so far.
Several Bucks players joined Black Lives Matter protests in Milwaukee in June, shortly after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Those players included Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player.
While players have expressed support for Black Lives Matter, the NBA has been criticized for its relationship with the Chinese government. An exposé by ESPN on July 29 revealed that some coaches at NBA schools in China complained that pupils were suffering physical abuse at the hands of other instructors. The NBA ran three academies in Xinjiang province until at least mid 2019 while the Chinese government was systematically imprisoning Uyghur residents of that province.