UPDATE 7:02 PM — The Washington Mystics, Atlanta Dream and the entire WNBA has joined the strike as protests of police violence and racial justice expand. Read more here on the developments in Bradenton, Florida.
The Milwaukee Bucks staged a strike of today’s game to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the NBA canceled all three game fives scheduled for today. Reportedly, players are considering striking for tomorrow’s games as well, and are discussing walking out on the remainder of the NBA season.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Bucks guard George Hill told ESPN’s Mark Spears.
Milwaukee is north of Kenosha, where police shot Blake seven times as he climbed into the driver’s of his car with three children inside. Disturbing video of the shooting has circulated widely online via social media.
Several players went through pregame warm-up routines, but the Bucks did not emerge from the locker room as normally expected. Just before scheduled tip-off, Orlando Magic players left the floor and went to their locker room.
The Magic issued this statement:
“Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color.”
Individuals from across the league voice their support on social media, including Lebron James, Trae Young, John Wall, Jeannie Buss, George Karl, Enes Kanter, Dwyane Wade, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Robert Covington, Harrison Barnes, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Love, Jerian Grant, Ja Morant, Eric Paschall, Jordan Clarkson, Bam Adebayo, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jamal Murray, and Donovan Mitchell so far.
Racial injustice and police brutality have been the focus of nationwide mass protests throughout the summer, which included many NBA players. Some players, including the Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving, thought they should sit out the bubble because of concerns that the games would shift attention away from these critical issues. Ultimately, league officials were able to persuade them to play by permitting statements on jerseys and adding “Black Lives Matter” to the court.
Players, coaches and referees have been kneeling throughout the bubble when national anthems are played before games. Players and coaches have also spoken out on issues when talking with reporters.
Reportedly, the Toronto Raptors considered a strike of their game Tuesday before deciding to play.
The league says today’s games will be rescheduled. The game fives postponed today:
- Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic
- Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The Bullets Forever team will continue to provide updates as details become available.