NBA Players Vote to Resume Playoffs

Members of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets kneel during the national anthem before game four of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., August 24, 2020;. (Kim Klement/ USA TODAY Sports)

NBA players voted to continue their season in a meeting Thursday morning, one day after the Milwaukee Bucks decision not to play in their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake set off a domino effect of postponed games in the league.

The Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers all followed the Bucks in opting not to play, leading to the postponement of all three playoff games that day. The next afternoon the NBA announced the three games scheduled to be played that day — Denver-Utah, Boston-Toronto and LA Clippers-Dallas — were also postponed.

After the initial strike it was unclear if or when the season would resume as emotions ran high after police in Kenosha, Wis. shot Blake, a black man, in the back seven times in front of his three children while responding to a call that he had taken a woman’s keys and refused to return them. 

Blake allegedly admitted to having a knife in his possession when police arrived, according to Wisconsin’s Department of Justice. Police instructed Blake to “drop the knife” as he is seen on video holding something in his hand, though it is unclear what. Division of Criminal Investigation agents later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard in Blake’s van.

Players and league officials were still meeting in the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort to discuss when exactly games would resume, though sources told ESPN that Wednesday and Thursday’s games will likely be played on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. 

During meetings on Wednesday evening, the Lakers and Clippers wanted to cancel the rest of the season, but the other 11 teams voted to resume playing, the Athletic’s Shams Charania reported

After voting to continue the season, players and league officials met again Thursday night to create a plan to address racial injustice, which is expected to include a push for police accountability and voter registration, as well as support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Undefeated‘s Marc Spears reported.

The Bucks’ strike had far reaching consequences in the world of sports with teams and players in the MLB, NHL, MLS and WNBA also opting not to compete.

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