Workers remove towels from the Milwaukee Bucks empty bench after the Bucks sit out Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round in protest during the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Orlando Magic at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on Aug. 26, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Bucks are boycotting the game to protest the police shooting of Jacob Black. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/TNS)

Workers remove towels from the Milwaukee Bucks empty bench after the Bucks sit out Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round in protest during the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Orlando Magic at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on Aug. 26, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Bucks are boycotting the game to protest the police shooting of Jacob Black. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/TNS)

Milwaukee Bucks’ refusal to play leads NBA to postpone all of today’s games

Police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. prompts talk of cancellations among teams, players

By Dan Woike

Los Angeles Times

The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic in the aftermath of a police shooting 40 miles from their home arena, leading the NBA to postpone the games scheduled for Wednesday.

The decision comes as other teams inside the NBA bubble, predominantly Toronto and Boston, had discussed whether sitting out games would be a more effective statement against racism, police brutality and social injustice. The Lakers were scheduled to play the Portland Trail Blazers at 6 p.m. PDT.

The Bucks didn’t take the court for pregame warmups Wednesday afternoon against Orlando. Magic players who were on the court eventually headed back to the locker room as did the game’s officials.

Shortly after the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to not play Game 5 of their series, the NBA announced all games would be postponed.

Earlier in the day, both Toronto coach Nick Nurse and Boston star Jayson Tatum said players on both teams have discussed leaving the bubble.

“It makes me question if this was the right decision,” Raptors star Pascal Siakam said in a video conference call Wednesday. “Are we really making a change? Are we really doing something meaningful?”

The Bucks’ refusal to play Wednesday is a sharp escalation in the league’s fight against racism. Teams have knelt during the playing of the national anthem in previous games. Players have replaced their names on their jerseys with social justice messages and used media interviews to discuss topics like police shootings.

But video of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, being shot in the back multiple times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis. on Sunday reignited urgency among many in the league to refocus efforts in that fight.

Bucks guard George Hill, speaking after Game 4 on Monday, said the Blake shooting was heartbreaking.

“First of all, we shouldn’t even have came to this damn place, to be honest,” Hill said. “Coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we’re here. It is what it is. We can’t do anything from right here. But definitely when it’s all settled, some things need to be done. This world has to change. Our police department has to change. Us, as a society, has to change. Right now, we’re not seeing any of that. Lives are being taken as we speak, day in and day out. There’s no consequence or accountability for it. That’s what has to change.”

Hill told the Undefeated’s Marc Spears that the Bucks aren’t playing because “we’re tired of the killings and the injustice.”

The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, who are scheduled to begin their second-round series Thursday, have been in discussion since a players-only meeting Tuesday. Refusing to play Game 1 has been discussed, multiple players and coaches said.

“We’re just trying to come together and figure out a way how we can do something,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said Wednesday before Milwaukee’s protest.

NBA

Just Posted

A man walks past the main entrance to the Hotel Whitcomb at Eighth and Market streets on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The remnants of trees burned by the Dixie Fire near Antelope Lake, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Christian Monterrosa/The New York Times)
California’s wildfires invisible effect: high carbon dioxide emissions

This summer California fires emitted twice as much CO2 as last year

Latinos are dying at a lower rate than white and Black people in California. However, Latinos have had the sharpest increase in the death rate in the last month, rising from 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people in August to 4 per 100,000 in September. (iStock)
Who’s dying in California from COVID-19?

In recent months, those who are dying are younger

The numbers show nearly 14 percent of San Francisco voters who participated in the Sept. 14 recall election wanted to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from elected office. (Shutterstock photo)
(Shutterstock photo)
How San Francisco neighborhoods voted in the Newsom recall

Sunset tops the list as the area with the most ‘yes’ votes

Most Read