Charles Barkley is one of the biggest names in all of sports. While he typically is not afraid to give his opinions about basketball, Barkley recently spoke about an issue much larger than basketball. In one of the biggest days in the history of sports, teams chose not to play during the NBA playoffs on Wednesday, electing to protest the games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Barkley then made an appearance on CNN on Wednesday and gave a powerful message about the boycotts, and racism in America.
The Milwaukee Bucks protested their Game 5 NBA playoff matchup
The Milwaukee Bucks‘ Game 5 playoff game against the Orlando Magic was postponed on Wednesday, Aug. 26 after the Bucks’ players boycotted the game in response to the Blake shooting.
“We fully support our players and the decision they made,” Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens, and Jamie Dinan said in a statement, according to CBS Sports. “Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them. The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”
The team also provided a statement.
“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable,” the Bucks said in part of the team’s statement, per NBA.com. “We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”
The move by the Bucks resulted in the postponement of all three of the Game 5s that were scheduled for Wednesday with the other five teams also choosing to join the boycott. Several other games across the WNBA, MLB, and MLS were also postponed.
The Lakers and Clippers reportedly voted to end the season
After the boycotts of the NBA playoff games, the players and coaches in the bubble held a meeting. It ultimately ended ugly, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers voted to boycott the remainder of the season. LeBron James also reportedly left the meeting early, and the Lakers and Clippers followed him out. Despite the Lakers and Clippers’ votes, the other teams voted to continue playing, per Charania.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the vote was more of a polling than a final vote. A final decision about the future of the NBA season has not yet been made. Wojnarowski also reported that the meetings will most likely continue on Thursday.
Charles Barkley gave a powerful message on CNN
Charles Barkley appeared on CNN on Wednesday following the players’ protests, and he ultimately gave a powerful message.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Barkley said. “You got to give the Milwaukee Bucks a lot of credit; this happened in their home state. They felt the most pressure. I know other teams have been talking about it, but it took the Bucks to lead the forefront.”
Later in the interview, Barkley said this: “The bottom line is — it’s exhausting being Black, especially when you’re a celebrity. I love Tom Brady, but nobody asks him about what’s going on in white America … White players, they’ve been amazing, but they don’t live with the pressure that these young Black guys are going through every day.”
“It’s exhausting being Black because there is a double-standard when you’re Black because I have to comment on everything that happens in the Black community. Same thing with LeBron, who’s our most prominent player. You get tired of something all the time.”
No matter what happens with the rest of the NBA season, hopefully the messages from Barkley, LeBron James, and others can make a real change in America going forward.