The Lakers and Clippers will be back in action this weekend, with NBA players agreeing Friday to end their boycott prompted by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the league agreeing to work on social justice issues and promote voter participation in the November election.
NBA playoff games — all of which are being played inside the league-established “bubble” in Orlando, Florida, as a safety precaution against the coronavirus — were postponed on Wednesday and Thursday due to the player boycott. Player representatives met with team owners and league officials on Thursday to discuss if and when the playoffs would resume.
“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality,” according to a joint statement from the league and the National Basketball Players Association.
The league and players’ union agreed to resume playoff games on Saturday, while also committing to three social-justice measures:
— establishing a “social justice coalition” of players, coaches and team owners that will focus on issues “including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform”;
— working with officials in every NBA city to use team arenas as voting locations for the November election; and
— developing advertisements that will air during every NBA playoff game “dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.”
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” according to the statement. “We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together — in Orlando and in all NBA team markets — to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
Following through on the pledge regarding vote centers, the Clippers and Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan announced Friday afternoon that the Forum in Inglewood will be a vote center for November’s election. The Clippers’ home court is currently at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, but the team owns the Forum and is building a new arena nearby.
“Hosting a vote center at the Forum ensures Inglewood and the surrounding communities have a safe and positive in-person voting experience at one of L.A.’s historic landmarks,” Logan said in a statement. He said the arena will open for voting and ballot drop-off on Oct. 24, staying open through the Nov. 3 election.
The Clippers also plan to establish a website at www.lavoterswin.com aimed at encouraging voter participation and providing residents with information about voter registration, issues on the ballot and how to vote.
Lakers star LeBron James previously helped broker a deal for Dodger Stadium to also be used as a vote center for the election.
The Lakers have a 3-to-1 lead in their series against the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Clippers are up 3-to -2 over the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers will resume play at 6 p.m. local time Saturday. The Clippers will play at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.