NBA Playoff Games Postponed After Milwaukee Bucks Boycott in Honor of Jacob Blake

NBA players used their platform to show support for Jacob Blake after he was shot by police. Find out how the playoffs will go on.

By Mike Vulpo Aug 27, 2020 7:40 PMTags
Watch: NBA Playoffs Postponed in Wake of Jacob Blake Protests

UPDATE: NBA games scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 27 were also postponed, the league announced. 

NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass said in a statement, "We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday. There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps."


NBA players are taking a stand against police brutality.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott Game 5 of their playoff series with the Orlando Magic to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

According to ESPN, the Bucks did not come onto the court before the 4 p.m. EST start time. NBA officials later went into the locker room before learning of the team's boycott. 

"Some things are bigger than basketball," Milwaukee Bucks SVP Alex Lasry shared on Twitter. "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." 

The Orlando Magic team later issued a statement supporting their competitors. 

"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 unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color," the statement read.

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Ultimately, the Bucks' decision led to other games being postponed for the evening.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

"The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks' decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today's three games–Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers-have been postponed.  Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled," the NBA said in a release.

As the news broke, many NBA players spoke out on social media in support of the decision. 

"Proud of our players! @NBA," Dwyane Wade shared on Twitter. LeBron James added, "F—K THIS MAN!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT."

Hollywood Reacts to Police Shooting of Wisconsin Father Jacob Blake

Additionally, the WNBA postponed three games set to take place Wednesday night. 

Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams delivered a statement on behalf of the athletes, which read, "We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA, and will continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action. What we have seen over the last few months, and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake, is overwhelming. And while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep the focus on the issues and demand change. These moments are why it's important for our fans to stay focused, hear our voices, know our hearts, and connect the dots from what we say to what we do."

Several across the MLB and MLS also opted against playing. 

Tennis star Naomi Osaka joined the boycott and said she would not play in the semi-finals of the 2020 Western & Southern Open on Thursday, Aug. 27. She wrote in a statement shared to Twitter, "...before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need attention, rather than watching me play tennis."

Ben Crump Law

The protests come less than a week after Jacob, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot by Wisconsin police officers. The confrontation was videotaped by a bystander and posted on social media.

According to NBC News, who cited a family lawyer, Jacob is paralyzed from the waist down and doctors don't know if the condition is permanent.

Jacob's family reacted to the NBA's decision in a statement on Instagram. "Sports give us an escape from the challenges of everyday life, but times like today require us to steer directly into those challenges and make meaningful change happen, change that will require real sacrifice by all of us," family attorney Ben Crump said in part. "This gesture by the Bucks is an example of that kind of sacrifice and sends a clear message that they won't continue performing for America's entertainment until this ultimate weight is removed from their hearts and minds, insisting on an end to the open season on Black Americans. Athletes like these committed players will lead the way to real change."

(This story was originally published on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 3:18 p.m. PST)