Three NBA games set for Thursday, including the Clippers’ matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, were postponed as a player boycott continued over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but it was still unclear when the playoffs might resume.
“NBA playoff games for today will not be played as scheduled,” the NBA announced in a statement late Thursday morning. “We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday. There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps.”
Three playoff games, among them the Lakers’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers, were postponed Wednesday with players taking part in a boycott in response to the shooting that left Blake critically injured.
Multiple news organizations subsequently reported that the Lakers and Clippers had both decided as teams at a Wednesday night meeting they did not want to play any more games because they wanted to push for societal change.
But that stance appeared to have changed by Thursday morning. ESPN reported that players — including the Lakers and Clippers — had decided to continue with the playoffs, but a timetable wasn’t discussed.
The Clippers-Dallas game had been scheduled for 6 p.m.
There was no immediate response to an email sent to the spokeswoman for the National Basketball Players Association, the union representing the league’s players.
The Milwaukee Bucks declined to take the court for their scheduled game against the Orlando Magic Wednesday, telling league officials they were boycotting, and it soon became apparent the rest of the teams scheduled to play Wednesday would follow suit.
The NBA later announced the postponements of the day’s other two playoff games, including Game 5 of the first-round series between the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers, which the Lakers lead 3-1.
Lakers star LeBron James expressed his feelings shortly after the postponement was announced with a stark, all-caps tweet, writing: “F— THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
On Thursday morning, James took a more subtle tone, urging on Twitter that people make their voices heard at the ballot box. He tweeted: “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.” He added the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter.
Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss offered her support for the Wednesday postponements.
“I was excited to see us play — and hopefully close out our series — tonight,” she tweeted. “But I stand behind our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou.”
The Lakers later sent out a tweet with the words “Demand justice” and the phone numbers and email address for Kenosha’s mayor and Kenosha County’s district attorney, and the phone number for the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers also joined the boycott and opted not to take the field for their scheduled game Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds. By early evening, the Dodgers followed suit, with their game against the San Francisco Giants also scrubbed.
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday night the Dodgers and Giants would play a doubleheader Thursday in San Francisco.
A short time later, Major League Soccer announced that its five remaining matches on Wednesday were all being postponed. Those postponements included the Los Angeles Football Club’s match with Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy’s match with Seattle Sounders FC.
All three of Wednesday’s WNBA games were also postponed, including a game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx.
Blake was shot several times in the back Sunday as he tried to enter his vehicle after a confrontation with police. Authorities have not provided any information about what led to the shooting, which was captured on video.
Blake remains hospitalized with serious injuries.
The Los Angeles Chargers had been scheduled to hold a scrimmage Thursday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, but the team opted against it.
“The last 24 hours have been really, in some ways, frustrating with what’s going on around the country right now,” head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters, his players standing behind him. “It seems like the more work we put in, sometimes it seems like the worse it gets. But we’re certainly not going to be defeated by what’s going on. We’re going to keep fighting for what’s right. And this football team is committed to fighting for a championship and social justice.
“We just had a team meeting in the locker room right now, and we’re not going to scrimmage today,” he said. “We’re going to do something different. I thought what we did in the locker room in the last hour was 10 times more powerful than what we could have done on the football field today. So that’s where we’re at right now.”