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.”
As of mid-morning, the league had not released a revised schedule of games. 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.