The NBA playoffs will be concluded but Thursday night’s games have also been postponed in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake. The Milwaukee Bucks refused to take to the court on Wednesday night for game five of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic in response to Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer on Sunday as he opened the door of his car in which his three children were seated.
The incident has sparked a fresh wave of protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 29-year-old has been left paralysed from the waist down and it has been suggested it will take a “miracle” for him to walk again.
And after the Bucks opted against taking to the floor, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder also decided not to play their game five.
The NBA soon confirmed the game five between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers was also postponed and to be rescheduled.
The Bucks’ walk-out left a cloud of uncertainty over the rest of the NBA schedule, but after a meeting of players and coaches on Thursday morning, it has been agreed action will be resumed, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Thursday’s three games – Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers – have however also been postponed.
It had been claimed that the Lakers and Clippers were among a small minority of teams who wanted the season to be curtailed.
That is with players said to be demanding that the NBA’s Board of Governors do more to help force real change throughout the United States in regards to social injustice and police brutality.
Wojnarowski added that discussions are underway to determine when the league will resume, but a return to play at Walt Disney World is expected this weekend.
The Bucks player said in a statement on Friday night: “Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.
“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.
“We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.
“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable.”
While a press release from Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan read: “We fully support our players and the decision they made.
“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.”
Players and coaches have across the league have called for more action to be taken from owners, including Lakers guard LeBron James.
He wrote on Wednesday night: “F**K THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
And he followed it up with another tweet on Thursday, saying: “Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool
kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That’s why your vote is @morethanavote. #BlackLivesMatter.”
The postponement of NBA games was followed by matches in the MLB and MLS also being called off, while former world No 1 Naomi Osaka also pulled out of a WTA match on Thursday.