August 26 was a historic day for professional sports in the US, with athletes banding together to stand against racial injustice and refusing to play in games across the country following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Three NBA playoff games were postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the floor against the Orlando Magic as players took a stand with their Bucks counterparts. Three WNBA, five Major League Soccer and three Major League Baseball games were also postponed.
And following the postponement of its opening series against the Portland Trail Blazers, players from the Los Angeles Lakers — as well as its city counterparts the Los Angeles Clippers — voted to boycott the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, according to Shams Charania, who is with both The Athletic and Stadium.
Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back by police on Sunday as he tried to enter his vehicle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His shooting became the latest incident to prompt outrage nationwide over racial injustice and police brutality.
According to Elle Duncan of ESPN, NBA players boycotting a game has happened only once before. Almost 60 years ago, Hall of Famer Bill Russell and some of his Boston Celtic teammates sat out a game in 1961 in protest of racial injustice.
In a players’ meeting on Wednesday night, the LA teams were the only two NBA teams who voted to boycott the NBA season. Charania, who cites unnamed sources in his reporting, said all other NBA teams voted to continue playing.
The vote that was taken doesn’t appear to be binding. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who cited unnamed sources, it was more of a poll than a final vote, and that resuming the playoffs remains up in the air.
When reached by CNN, the NBA said it had nothing to share beyond the statement that the league put out earlier in the day, when it was announced that Wednesday’s games would be postponed and that the games would be rescheduled.
CNN has reached out to the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the Lakers and the Clippers for comment.
Two playoff games are scheduled to take place on Thursday but given Wednesday’s developments, it remains to be seen if they will take place.
Strikes are banned under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, which means the Bucks players broke their own contract in order to protest racial injustice and police violence.