The National Basketball Association postponed Wednesday’s playoff games after the Milwaukee Bucks did not take the floor for a game against the Orlando Magic in an apparent protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
The NBA announced the decision shortly after 4 p.m. C.T., citing the Bucks and saying it was delaying other Game 5 matches between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, as well as the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Earlier, when the clock struck 4:10 p.m for the Bucks to tip off against the Magic, the team was still in the locker room.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the playoff contest, Game 5 of the first-round playoff matchup inside the NBA bubble in Florida, would be played. The Bucks lead the best-of-7-game series, 3-1.
The Bucks play about 40 miles north of Kenosha, where Blake was shot in the back — and potentially paralyzed — by police on Sunday, in a confrontation captured on video.
« Some things are bigger than basketball, » Bucks Vice President Alexander Lasry said in a statement, a half-hour after the game was supposed to start.
« The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change. »
As the game delay played out, NBA superstar LeBron James appeared to tweet his support for the Bucks’ protest: « F–K THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT. »
And before Wednesday afternoon’s scheduled game, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said his team would struggle to play in light of the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
« It is a great challenge to have an appreciation and a desire to want change, » he said. « To want something different and better in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Wisconsin and then to go out and play a game. »
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