Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder Go On Strike Before Their Playoff Games In Protest of the Shooting of Jacob Blake

The Milwaukee Bucks did not take the floor for their Game 5 match-up against the Orlando Magic this Wednesday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As the set tip-off time of 4:10 pm eastern neared, and as the Magic took the court for shootaround, the Bucks remained in their locker room, discussing whether or not to sit the Game out as a team.

Around three minutes after the scheduled tip off, sources informed ESPN that the Bucks had formalized their decision to boycott the game in protest of the attempted murder of 29-year old Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

When the NBA began making arrangements to resume play in the bubble, there were concerns among players that basketball would take focus away from the ongoing media coverage of police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement. The league, and proponents of the NBA restart addressed these concerns by selling critics on the idea that NBA players can use their platform to bring attention to the issue of police violence while playing.

But clearly, in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, players have decided that the measures of protest and advocacy afforded to them by the NBA are not enough. The Bucks are joined by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, who mutually agreed to boycott Game 5 of their series this evening, per the Athletic’s Shams Chariana. They may be joined as well by the Lakers and Trail Blazers.

All season long, and for years before, phrases like “Bigger than Basketball” have been repeated; that a basketball player is “more than an athlete,” having responsibilities to society and progress that extend off the court, into their role as a public figure. Today, NBA players live by those words by boycotting these games. Overriding the concerns of winning a game, or staying in the NBA’s good graces, is a desire that is truly ‘bigger than basketball’: The desire to see justice served. 

You can learn more about how to support Black Lives Matter here.

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Image Source: AP Images

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