NBA playoffs to resume despite Lakers, Clippers voting to boycott remainder of season in response to Jacob Blake shooting

Although the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers had both voted to boycott the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, that stance appeared to have changed by Thursday morning.
Although the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers had both voted to boycott the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, that stance appeared to have changed by Thursday morning as ESPN reported that players had decided to continue with the playoffs.

Discussions are underway on when teams will resume play. Three playoff games that were scheduled for Thursday, including Game 6 of the Clippers-Dallas Mavericks series, have been postponed.

Wednesday's vote by the L.A. organizations, the only two NBA teams to do so, came in the wake of the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back seven times by police on Sunday while trying to enter his vehicle. His shooting has sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality.

WATCH: Video shows officer-involved shooting of Black man in Kenosha
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Wisconsin's governor summoned the National Guard for fear of another round of violent protests Monday after the police shooting of a Black man that was caught on video.



In a players' meeting on Wednesday night, teams were polled about what their preference would be, and the Lakers and Clippers both voted to end the season. But ESPN sources stressed there was no final decision on whether or not to resume the playoffs and the poll was informal.

Lakers star LeBron James has been one of the most-vocal NBA players in calling for a boycott of the season.

"We play a beautiful game, which brings so many great families together and people should be able to rejoice and enjoy it," James said. "But at the same never lose track of what's really going on in our world, especially here in America."

The cancellations among four major sports leagues on Wednesday started with the NBA, when the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play in Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. Kenosha is located 35 miles south of Milwaukee.

RELATED: Basketball, baseball, soccer games postponed amid protests over Jacob Blake shooting

Other teams followed suit and the NBA and the players association announced all three playoff games that had been scheduled for Wednesday would be postponed and rescheduled.

Elle Duncan of ESPN said in a tweet that NBA players have only boycotted a game once before. Duncan said nearly six decades ago, Hall of Famer Bill Russell and several of his Boston Celtic teammates sat out a game in protest of racial injustice.



Jeanie Buss, the governor of the Lakers, tweeted her support for the team: "I stand behind our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough."

"Players have, once again, made it clear - they will not be silent on this issue," National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts said.

Fans in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday morning had mixed feelings about the boycott.

"I think it's a good idea. Because, to me, a statement has to be made somehow," said Donald Fleming.

Others opposed the move.

"We're all against police brutality, we all think it's wrong. That doesn't mean you quit your job over it," said Ron Moskowitz.

"We're the ones getting killed," Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said in an emotional speech Tuesday night. "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. It's amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back. And it's just, it's really so sad."

RELATED: Clippers coach Doc Rivers makes emotional comments about Kenosha shooting
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"It's amazing to me why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back," Clippers coach Doc Rivers made emotional comments about racial justice and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.



Rivers spoke at length about how disturbing it was to watch the video of Blake being shot.

"That video, if you watch that video, you don't need to be Black to be outraged," Rivers said. "You need to be American and outraged. How dare the Republicans talk about fear. We're the ones that need to be scared. We're the ones having to talk to every Black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over?

Demanding societal change and ending racial injustice has been a major part of the NBA's restart at Walt Disney World. The phrase "Black Lives Matter" is painted on the arena courts, players are wearing messages urging change on their jerseys and coaches are donning pins demanding racial justice as well.

Many players wrestled for weeks about whether it was even right to play, fearing that a return to games would take attention off the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville, Kentucky apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation on March 13. The warrant was in connection with a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found.

RELATED: Breonna Taylor case: Family meets with Kentucky attorney general

Then on May 25, Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into the Black man's neck for nearly eight minutes - all captured on a cell phone video.

Major League Baseball teams that were scheduled to play Wednesday also decided to walk off the field, including the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Dodgers star Mookie Betts, who is Black, told his teammates he was sitting out and they backed him.

"For me, I think no matter what, I wasn't going to play tonight," Betts said. "I have to use my platform to at least get the ball rolling."

RELATED: Dodgers' Mookie Betts, Giants kneel in Black Lives Matter pregame ceremony
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Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts and several San Francisco Giants players kneeled during the national anthem before the opening day game on Thursday as a sign of unity for social justice.



Once Betts made his decision, the Dodgers stood by him, ace Clayton Kershaw said.

"More than anything as a teammate of Mookie's, as a member of this team ... as a white player on this team is how do we show support? What's something tangible that we can do to help our black brothers on this team?" Kershaw said.

A sprinkling of players from the Dodgers and Giants were loosening up and the grounds crew was prepping the field at Oracle Park when the game was postponed.

"My cousin got shot and killed. My father was one of the first black men in his high school," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, son of an African American father and Japanese mother. "It was just more of getting everyone together and sharing our thoughts. ... Collectively, ultimately we came to the consensus that we shouldn't play today."

The WNBA also postponed three games that were scheduled for Wednesday. Then Major League Soccer teams began joining in, with the cancellation of a match between the Los Angeles Football Club and Real Salt Lake.

ESPN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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