LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — NBA players made their strongest statement yet against racial injustice Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic.
The teams were set to begin Game 5 of their series shortly after 4 p.m., with the Bucks needing a win to advance to the second round.
Players had been discussing boycotting games in the bubble after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. More discussions were expected Wednesday, but even before that the Bucks apparently decided they would act.
“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted Wednesday. “The stand taken today by the players and (the organization) 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.”
Magic player and referees were on the floor for the game but Milwaukee never took the floor. Eventually everyone else left and the arena staff soon took the balls, towels and tags that go on player chairs back inside.
The Magic-Bucks contest were the first of three scheduled games on Wednesday. They were to be followed by Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers against the Los Angeles Lakers.