In an unprecedented move, the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic boycotted their playoff game Wednesday in light of the shooting of Jacob Blake. The remainder of the first-round series in unknown, but it’s clear both teams are fed up with police brutality and racial injustice in America.
So, what prompted this historic move from a team fighting for a berth in the second round and an NBA title down the road?
The Bucks and Magic are boycotting their playoff game Wednesday to protest police brutality and racial injustice
The Bucks and Magic were scheduled to play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday afternoon. But when Orlando took the court pregame to warm up, Milwaukee didn’t join them.
As game time approached, the Bucks remained in their locker room and announced they would be boycotting the playoff game. The Magic immediately left the floor and headed back to their own locker room.
Instead of accepting the forfeit, though, the Magic joined the Bucks in boycotting the game. It’s the second such boycott in NBA history.
NBA players returned to play with powerful messages on their jerseys and “Black Lives Matter” painted across every court. They knelt in solidarity before every playoff game, and now they’re making their boldest move yet.
The Jacob Blake shooting has shown NBA players that nothing has changed since George Floyd’s death. They want progress in the police community, and they want black Americans to be viewed as equals. The Bucks were the first to take a stand of this magnitude because they’ve experienced this mistreatment firsthand.
The Bucks have personally dealt with racism and police brutality
Everyone in the NBA supports the cause, but it’s even more personal for the Bucks.
Sterling Brown, who is a bench player for the Bucks, had a police officer kneel on his own neck and punch him for parking incorrectly in Milwaukee. John Henson, who played for the Bucks from 2012-2019, was racially profiled when a bystander called the cops on him while he was shopping for jewelry.
Multiple Bucks are also close with Thabo Sefolosha, who suffered a broken leg at the hands of the NYPD in 2015.
This issue hits home for the Milwaukee locker room, and it’s only fitting they’ve started the movement of boycotting playoff games. They won’t be the only ones, however.
The NBA has postponed all playoff games Wednesday
The Bucks’ decision to boycott its game against the Magic Wednesday sent shockwaves through the NBA. Within the hour, the NBA announced all playoff games on Wednesday will be postponed.
NBA players will hold a meeting Wednesday night to decide future actions, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The NBA has supported its players all throughout this ordeal. If the players want to continue their boycott until they see legitimate change in America, the league won’t fight their decision.
Playoff basketball could be on hold for a while.