After Wednesday’s three NBA playoff games were postponed following the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to take the court for their first-round, Game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic, the players reached an independent decision on Thursday morning to resume the postseason. The postseason will likely pick back up Friday or Saturday, NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass said in a statement

Below is everything you need to know about how we got to this point and the circumstances that led to the players’ decision to resume playing. 

1. What sparked Wednesday’s boycott?

The NBA and its players, coaches and owners have taken myriad measures to make clear their support for the Black Lives Matter movement while standing against all racial injustice and police brutality, but in the wake of a Black man named Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, Bucks players collectively decided to take the league’s most extreme action yet by not taking the court for their game against the Magic. 

Shortly thereafter, the NBA released a statement that all three of Wednesday’s postseason games — Milwaukee vs. Orlando, Houston vs. Oklahoma City and Portland vs. the L.A. Lakers — were being postponed. And so began a series of protests across professional sports, with the WNBA canceling its full slate of games for Wednesday (and also Thursday), and three MLB games getting postponed as well. 

2. Were other teams aware of the Bucks’ plan?

No. And that reportedly didn’t sit well with a portion of the players, which led to a least two different responses. One, per Sam Amick of The Athletic, Bucks veteran Kyle Korver apologized for his team’s decision to take “abrupt” action without informing anyone else of their plan. 

On the other hand, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown stood by the Bucks and their decision didn’t feel they owed anyone an apology, per ESPN.

3. How was decision to resume playing reached?

The players inside the bubble met Wednesday night, first with coaches invited to attend and then on their own, to discuss next steps. During these initial meetings, it was reported by Shams Charania of the Athletic that the Lakers and Clippers were in favor of canceling the rest of the postseason, while the other 11 teams remaining in the bubble voted to resume playing. 

Multiple reports indicated that LeBron James was particularly firm in his desire to shut down the rest of the postseason, citing that he didn’t believe team owners were doing enough, and Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that both Kawhi Leonard was on LeBron’s side in being “adamant” about canceling the rest of the playoffs. 

Players reportedly continued talking late into Wednesday night, and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the main source of frustration was players not being on the same page with emotions running high as time went on. They agreed to sleep on it with the hope that they’d be able to reconvene on Thursday morning with clearer heads. 

Indeed, that meeting Thursday morning led to the decision to resume playing. 

4. What has been the response from team owners?

As noted above in LeBron’s dissatisfaction with the owners, this is a very important issue. On Wednesday, several owners and teams released statements in support of the players’ decision not to play, but the players want(ed) action from — let’s face it — the really rich people in control of their teams who have the financial means and leverage to affect meaningful change. 

To that end, the Board of Governors met independent of the players on Thursday morning, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the BOG and the players will come together for a meeting later on Thursday to action steps moving forward. 

5. What effects have the boycotts had so far?

Actually, one potentially meaningful ball has already started rolling. Before leaving their locker room on Wednesday, Bucks players reportedly spent significant time on the phone with Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, which then led to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers calling a special session of the State Legislature and urging lawmakers to vote on a legislative package that includes police reform.

We will continue to update this story as information becomes available. 


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